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How to use the Present Perfect: PAST actions connected to the present!

How to use the Present Perfect to talk about things we’ve done before now, in the past, that have a connection to the present. Here are some Present perfect examples:

• I’ve broken my arm (so I can’t play tennis now).
• She’s spent the money (so she can’t buy it now).
• They’ve left (so you can’t talk to them now).

For example

Pete broke his arm on Tuesday. Now, his arm is in a cast (a type of hard material that protects a broken arm). He can talk about this now by saying:

I’ve broken my arm.

We use the Present Perfect here because the past action has a connection to the present as his arm is still broken.

We form the present perfect with the auxiliary have + a past participle.

Affirmative Negative Interrogative

I’ve already eaten. I haven’t eaten yet. Have I eaten yet?
You’ve already eaten. You haven’t eaten yet. Have you eaten yet?
He’s already eaten. He hasn’t eaten yet. Has he eaten yet?
She’s already eaten. She hasn’t eaten yet. Has she eaten yet?
It’s already eaten. It hasn’t eaten yet. Has it eaten yet?
We’ve already eaten. We haven’t eaten yet. Have we eaten yet?
They’ve already eaten. They haven’t eaten yet. Have they eaten yet?

We often use contractions with the Present Perfect.

For example: I’ve = I have; you’ve = you have; he’s = he has; she’s = she has; it’s = it has; we’ve = we have; they’ve = they have.
The negative forms are: haven’t = have not; hasn’t = has not.
For example:
• I’ve lost my bag.
• They’ve forgotten the password.

Here are some typical words we use with the Present Perfect when referring to past actions that have a connection to the present.

1. Just

We can use just to say that something happened a short time ago. For example:
• He’s just arrived.
• They’ve just told us the answer.
Notice how we place just before the participle.

2. Already

We can use already when something happens earlier than expected. For example:
• I’ve already finished the work.
• She’s already told them.
Notice how we place already in front of the participle.

3. Still… not

We can use still… not to talk about things that haven’t finished – especially when we expected them to finish earlier! For example:
• He still hasn’t packed his bag.
• She still hasn’t seen the film.
Notice how we place still before a negative form of

4. So far

We can use so far to mean until now. For example:
• So far, I’ve sold three of the packs.
• She’s won the competition six times, so far.
We can place so far at the start or end of the sentence.

5. Not… yet

We can use not… yet to say that something hasn’t happened, but that it will happen soon. For example:
• I haven’t sent the e-mail yet.
• She hasn’t told them yet.
Notice how we place yet at the end of the sentence.

 6. …yet?

We can use …yet in questions to ask whether something has been done. For example:
• Has she taken the photos yet?
• Have you finished the work yet?
Notice how we place yet at the end of the question.

Dialogue: A game of tennis?

You’re going to listen to a dialogue with the Present Perfect. Jenny has called her friend Morgan. Listen and say whether the statements are True or False.
1. Morgan has broken his leg.
2. He has just got back from the doctor’s.
3. He can’t play tennis.
4. He hasn’t told Amy yet.

Here are the answers:
1. Morgan has broken his leg. False
2. He has just got back from the doctor’s. True
3. He can’t play tennis. True
4. He has already told Amy about it. False


Now it’s your turn! Answer these questions with the Present Perfect and any of these words: already, not… yet, still… not or so far:
• Have you tidied your room yet?
• Have you spoken to Mike yet?
• Have you sent the e-mails yet?
• Have you written the report yet?
• Have you cleaned the car yet?

Well done! You’ve learnt lots of useful words. Now try the quiz below to see if you can remember them

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