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Verbs - Present Perfect Tense - 1

Verbs - Present Perfect Tense - 1

 

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Present Perfect Tense  1 - (regular participle)

 

 

Hello! In this lesson, we will learn to use the present perfect tense in English.  In previous lessons, we have learned to use the simple present tense the simple past tense, the future, and some hypothetical forms.

The present perfect tense helps us discuss the past from the viewpoint of the present.  It covers a span of time stretching from now backwards into the past.

The present perfect is formed with the conjugated form of the verb "to have" and a participle. The participle may either be regular or irregular.  In this lesson, we will learn how to use the present perfect tense with a regular participle.

In an upcoming lesson, we will learn to form the irregular participles. The regular participles look the same as the regular simple past tense verbs. The participles end with "-ed".

Let us take a look at how the present perfect tense is formed and then we will think about its usage.

I have baked

You have baked

We have baked

They have baked

Jennifer and David have baked

She has baked

He has baked

Jennifer has baked  

The best way to learn the usage of the present perfect tense is to compare it to the simple past tense. Both tenses refer to the past, but from a different point of view. Here are some comparisons of the simple past tense with the present perfect tense.

Simple past tense: "Yesterday there was a picnic. It was a success because Jennifer baked her great cookies."

Present perfect: "This afternoon there is a picnic. It will probably be a success because Jennifer has baked her great cookies.".

In the first sentence, everything is finished. The point of view or aspect of the sentence is the past. In the second sentence, the aspect or point of view is the present. As we comment about the situation in the present, we comment on Jennifer having baked the cookies. Basically, we are talking about a span of time which includes the present time.   

Here are examples of the simple past tense and the present perfect tense in the negative.

"Oh no! I did not bake the cookies! Now I have to buy some.

Oh no! I have not baked the cookies! Now I have to bake some. ".

In the first sentence with the simple past tense, the fact of not baking the cookies is completely finished. It is too late to bake cookies, so the baker has to buy some cookies to make up for the completed mistake.

In the second sentence, the fact of not baking the cookies is ongoing. The baker has not baked the cookies yet, but there is still enough time to bake the cookies.

Here are some examples of questions and answers with the simple past and the present perfect tense.

"Did you taste the potato salad?  No, I did not taste it. It disappeared so fast.

Have you tasted the potato salad? No, I have not tasted it. I will taste it now.".

The first question in the simple past tense might be asked after the party. For example, David might ask Jennifer at breakfast the next day if she had a good time at the party, if she liked the food, and if she tasted the potato salad – in the simple past tense.  By the time he asks her about it, it is too late to taste the potato salad, because everything is already completely finished.  She didn't taste it, and it is gone.

The second question is asked at the party. David might have some potato salad on his plate. He sees that Jennifer doesn't have any potato on her plate. He asks her if she has tried the potato salad yet. There is still a chance for her to taste it; the potato salad is there, Jennifer and David are there, and the fact of not tasting it is ongoing in the moment.

Now that we understand the formation and usage of the present perfect tense, let us listen to the dialog.  In this dialog, Jennifer and David are at a party.

David: Are you having fun?

Jennifer: Yes, I have not enjoyed a party this much for a long time.

David: What are they serving for dinner?

Jennifer: Steak and potatoes, I think. They served that last time.

David:  Are the guests all here?

Jennifer:  Not yet. Some guests have not arrived yet.

David:  Are Mary and Patrick coming?

Jennifer: I hope so. I have wanted to see them.

David begins the conversation by asking Jennifer "Are you having fun?". This is a common expression which means (translate: are you having fun?) Jennifer could answer "Yes, I am having fun." or "Yes, I am." .

Jennifer answers "Yes, I have not enjoyed a party this much for a long time.". We see that Jennifer uses the present perfect with "not". It is common to use the present perfect and negative with a time expression like "for a long time" or "yet" or "ever". Jennifer could have said "I have not ever enjoyed a party this much.".  Or "I have never enjoyed a party this much.". We notice that Jennifer uses the present perfect to indicate a span of time which stretches from the present moment backwards in time "for a long time".

David asks "What are they serving for dinner?". He uses the present progressive with future meaning. He could also have asked "What are they going to serve for dinner?" or  "What will they serve for dinner?".

Jennifer answers "Steak and potatoes, I think. They served that last time.". In the second part of her utterance, Jennifer says "They served that last time.". See the difference between the usage of the simple past tense and the present progressive. Jennifer's sentence, in the simple past tense, refers to a specific time in the past which is now completely finished – "last time". It is not possible to continue "last time" because it is completely finished. Jennifer is basing her opinion on something that happened previously.    

David asks "Are the guests all here?". We notice that David and Jennifer are still at the party, talking about the party.

Jennifer answers "Not yet. Some guests have not arrived yet.". Jennifer uses the present perfect tense when she says "Some guests have not arrived yet.". Again we see that the action is not completely finished. It is still possible that more guests will arrive. Compare Jennifer's sentence to the same utterance in the simple past tense  -- "The guests did not arrive.". In the simple past tense statement, the guests did not arrive, and perhaps, as a result, the party was a failure. Maybe Jennifer and David and the hosts were the only people at a party that had been planned for a large number of guests. If Jennifer said the statement in the simple past tense, it is too late to rectify the situation.

David asks "Are Mary and Patrick coming?".  

Jennifer answers "I hope so. I have wanted to see them.". We notice that Jennifer uses the present perfect tense again. She started wanting to see Mary and Patrick in the past and she still hopes to see them. If she had said "I wanted to see them.", it would have meant that she wanted to see them, but missed the opportunity. But, in fact, she still has a chance to see them because she used the present perfect tense: "I have wanted to see them.".

Now that we have learned the meaning of the sentences in the dialog, let us listen to the dialog again. Listen for the difference in usage between the simple past tense and the present perfect tense.

David: Are you having fun?

Jennifer: Yes, I have not enjoyed a party this much for a long time.

David: What are they serving for dinner?

Jennifer: Steak and potatoes, I think. They served that last time.

David:  Are the guests all here?

Jennifer:  Not yet. Some guests have not arrived yet.

David:  Are Mary and Patrick coming?

Jennifer: I hope so. I have wanted to see them.

Wonderful! You now know how to use the present perfect tense with regular verbs. Use this tense in your conversations in English because "You have learned the present perfect!"