Unit 7 The Present Perfect Tense
The present perfect tense is formed with the present tense of have + the past participle:
Affirmative: I've done my homework.
Negative: I haven't done my homework.
Interrogative: Have you done your homework?
Negative interrogative: has he not worked?
The present perfect tense is used to express:
1A finished action that has a result or a consequence in the present,
the time of the action is not given:
I’ve lost my key (=I haven’t got it now - result). I can’t open the door.( consequence now).
I’ve baked a cake. You may taste it.
I have forgotten her name! (I don’t remember it now)
Though the action expressed in the Present Perfect is regarded as already accomplished, it belongs to the present-time sphere and is treated as a present action. It becomes obvious from the periphrasis:
I've heard the doctor's opinion I know the doctor's opinion.
She's gone off to the woods She is in the woods.
Note the use of the Past Indefinite with just now.
I told you just now I had never had time for much fun.
2With just, already, yet, so far etc. to express а recently completed
Не has just gone out. (Hе went out a few minutes ago.)
There have been some changes lately/recently.
He's had a lot of bad luck lately/recently.
Lately is less usual with the affirmative, except for actions covering periods of time
Recently, used with a simple past tense, means 'a short time ago':
He left recently = He left a short time ago.
3To give news of recent events or to give new information:
a) The present perfect is often used in newspapers and broadcasts to introduce an action which will then be described in the simple past tense.
There has been an explosion at Attenborough castle.
The past tense will normally be used in the second sentence:
Two prisoners have escaped from Dartmoor. They used a ladder which had been left behind by some workmen, climbed a twenty-foot wall and got away in a stolen car.
There has been a plane crash near Bristol. The witnesses say that there was an explosion as the aircraft was taking off.
b) The present perfect is often used in letters:
I am sorry I haven't written before but I 've been very busy lately as Tom has been away.
We have carefully considered the report which you sent us on 26 April, and have decided to take the following action.
c) When we report that someone has recently invented, discovered, produced, written something:
Scientists have discovered a new physical phenomena.
Chinese craftsmen invented both paper and printing. (distant past, past simple is used).
d) Present Perfect may also be used to sum up a situation.
"You've so often been helpful in the past." "I've tried," said Joseph.
"Agatha has told me everything. How cleverly you have both kept your secret,"
4For past actions with a word or phrase denoting аn incomplete period
of time: today, this morning/week/month/yearetc.:
(at 11 a.m.) Tom has rung up three times this morning already.
(morning ends about one o’clock) :
(at 2 p.m.) Tom rang up three times this morning.
Similarly, this afternoon will end at about five o'clock:
(at 4 p.m.) I haven't seen Tom this afternoon.
(at 6 p.m.) I didn't see Tom this afternoon
5To express personal experience with ever, never, so far, always,
occasionally, often, several times in my life, up to now etc. or to say that an action or event has been repeated a number of times up to now:
I've never ridden а horse in my life.
I’ve often wished I could read music
ANN: Have you ever fallen off a hone?
TOM: Yes, I've fallen off quite often/occasionally.
In this situation we use the present perfect to describe an action that can still happen, or could be repeated in the present. So, if Tom's riding days are over, we would have:
ANN: Did you ever fall off a horse? (past tense)
TOM: Yes, 1 did occasionally/frequently
Similarly, ‘I have seen wolves in that forest’ implies that it is still possible to see them and ‘John Smith has written a number of short stories’ implies that John Smith is still alive and can write more .
If, however, the wolves have been killed off and John Smith is dead we would say: I saw wolves in that forest once/several times or I used to see wolves here. John Smith wrote a number of short stones.
6The present perfect can be used with since:
a) since + a point in time:
She has been here since six o'clock, (and is still here)
We've been friends since our schooldays.
Note that there is a difference between last and the last.
I have been here since last week (month, year etc.)
I have been here for the last week.
B) since, adverb
He had a bad fall last year and has been off work ever since (adverb)
c) since + clause,
I've worked here since I left school
She has seemed so much better since you started the injections.
If two parallel actions began at the same time in the past and continue into the present, the Present Perfect is used in both clauses,
I've loved you since I've known you.
He has been reading since he came.
He has been reading since he has been working in the library.
In the second example both actions began at the same time in the past and continue into the moment of speaking.
d) it is - period + since + past or perfect tense
It is three years since I (last) saw Bill
or It is three years since I have seen Bill
or I last saw Bill three years ago
or / haven't seen Bill for three years.
It is two years since he left the country.
This, however, is replaceable only by: He left the country two years ago.
Note! This construction can be used in the past:
He invited me to go riding with him. But it was two years since I had ridden a horse.
7The present perfect can be used with for, all + time references: all
day/night/week, these three years, etc. when we talk about how long an existing situation has lasted:
Не has bееn in the army for two years (Не is still in the army).
Hewasin the army for two years. (He is not in the army now).
Wehave livedin London for ten years, (and still live there)
Welivedthere for ten years, (but we don't live there now)
So, if the period of duration belongs to the past time, the Past Indefinite should be used:
She looked at him for a long time and then shrugged.
We marched all night and all today. We arrived only an hour ago.
for can sometimes be omitted, especially after be, liveand wait:
We've been here an hour/two days.
8The present perfect is used in questions/answers such as:
How long have you been here? - I've been here six months
They will normally be followed by general inquiries in the present perfect about actions occurring within the period mentioned, because the action of staying, being etc., is not yet finished:
Have you been to the zoo/the theatre/the museums?
Have you found a job/met many people?
The answers will be in the same tense if no time is mentioned, otherwise they will be in the simple past tense:
Yes, I have (been to the zoo etc.) or Yes, I went there last week.
Note the following examples:
"Are you married?" "Yes." "How long have you been married?"
"Are you married?" "No. I'm divorced." "How long were you married?"
Have уоu bееn to Spain? - Yes, I have. - How long did уоu stay there?(You are not in Spain now)
Where have you been? - I've been to the cinema. - What did you see?/What was the film? - (I saw) 'Amadeus'. -Did you like it?
HUSBAND: Where have you been?
WIFE: I've been at the sales.
HUSBAND: What have you bought?/What did you buy?
WIFE: / have bought/I bought you some yellow pyjamas.
HUSBAND: Why did you buy yellow? I hate yellow.:
9 Note also structures: This is the first time… It is the first/ second/ the only etc. :
This is the best wine I have ever drunk.
This is the worst book I have ever read.
It is only the second time he has been in the canoe.
This is the only book he has written
10Recent actions with the verbs of knowing, believing and understanding (except tо think, tо wonder) cannot be used in the present perfect except as it is shown in the examples:
I’ve known him for a long time.
We have always believed that this is impossible.
I have sometimes thought that I should have emigrated.
I have often wondered why he didn't marry her.
So, recent action must be expressed by the simple past:
Did уоu know that he was going tо get married?
Неllo! I didn't know уоu were in London. How long have уоu bееn there?
11Present Perfect can be used to express a future action after the conjunctions when, before, after, as soon as, tilland until. It shows that the action of the subordinate clause will be accomplished before the action of the principal clause
As soon as we have had some tea, Ann, we’ll go to inspect your house.
I'll take you back in my car but not till I've made you some coffee.
Sometimes the Present Indefinite is found in this type of clauses in the same meaning. The choice of the form depends on the lexical meaning of the verb. With durative verbs the Present Perfect is necessary:
When you have had your tea, we'll see about it.
With terminative verbs the use of both forms is possible,
He says when he retires he'll grow roses.
Mother will stay at home until we return.
12 With comment/ report verbs or phrases (guess, reckon, suppose, imagine etc.):
Do you suppose they have forgotten about the meeting?
Ex. 43 Explain the use of Present Perfect in the following sentences:
1. Oliver came shyly up to him. "Sir, I've written a poem." "Good," said the headmaster. "May I see it?" 2. "Come on, ladies," he shouted, "there's nothing to be afraid of. The mice have left the room." 3. He thinks it's pure nerves and he's given me pills. 4. "Your hands are probably soiled. Go and wash them." "I have washed them." 5. Sam, what's come over you? You make me sad talking like this. 6. "Do you know the man?" "I've met him." 7. "Where is Gladys?" "I've just had a message. Her aunt's had a stroke and she's had to go down to Somerset." 8. "Well, it's very nice to see you anyway. I've been lonely." 9. "I don't know if any of you are interested," he said, "but the town has fallen." 10. "Have you brought sandwiches?" "No." "I don't know where I'll get lunch." 11. "You look a bit shaken. Are you all right?" "It's been a pretty awful day, that's all." 12.I don't know how often I've told you that I don't believe in this. 13.I've tried to be good. 14. As they saw off their last guest, he said to his wife: "I think everything has gone off fairly well, don't you?" "Everything has been perfect," she declared. 15. "What do you know about the life in Quebec?" "Quite a lot. We have had letters from my uncle describing it." 16. "Does your little daughter miss her nurse?" "No. She has forgotten her." 17. "Are you keen on sailing?" "I have never done any." 18. "You know, I'm thinking of writing my memoirs," she said, "I've had an adventurous life." 19. "Well, after all," she said, "he knows he has been horrid to you and he is trying to make up for it." 20. "Hallo, Mum and Dad," he called out. "Are you too busy to see what I've caught!" 21. "Have you heard Uncle Finch play?" "I'm sorry to say, no." 22. Doctor Diver, my daughter isn't right in the head. I've had lots of specialists and nurses for her and she's taken a couple of rest cures but the thing has grown too big for me and I've been strongly recommended to come to you.
Ex. 44 Put the verbs in brackets into the present perfect tense. Explain why the perfect tense is used:
1 Where you (be)? - I (be) to the dentist. 2 You (have) breakfast? - Yes, I... 3 The post (come)? - Yes, it . . . 4You (see) my watch anywhere? - No, I'm afraid I . . . 5 Someone (wind) the clock? - Yes, Tom . . . 6 I (not finish) my letter yet. 7 He just (go) out. 8 Someone (take) my bicycle. 9 The phone (stop) ri nging. 10 You (hear) from her lately? - No, I... 11 I just (wash) that floor. 12 The cat (steal) the fish. 13 You (explain) the exercise? - Yes, I... 14 There aren't any buses because the drivers (go) on strike. 15 You (have) enough to eat? - Yes, I (have) plenty, thank you. 16 Charles (pass) his exam? - Yes, he... 17 How many bottles the milkman (leave)? - He (leave) six. 18 I (live) here for ten years. 19 How long you (know) Mr Pitt? - I (know) him for ten years. 20 Would you like some coffee? I just (make) some. 21 Mary (water) the tomatoes? - Yes, I think she . . . 22 You (not make) a mistake? - No, I'm sure I . . . 23 Why you (not mend) the fuse? - I (not have) time. 24 You (dive) from the ten-metre board yet? - No, I... 25 You ever (leave) a restaurant without paying the bill? - No, I... 26 I (ask) him to dinner several times. 27 He always (refuse). 28 You ever (ride) a camel? 29 I (buy) a new carpet. Come and look at it. 30 He (post) the letter? 31 Why he (not finish)? He (have) plenty of time. 32 I often (see) him but I never (speak) to him. 33 You ever (eat) caviar? - No, I... 34 We just (hear) the most extraordinary news. 35 The police (recapture) the prisoners who escaped yesterday. 36 I (not pay) the telephone bill yet.
Ex. 45 Complete the sentence:a) Have you been to the bank today?
In pairs prepare four or five similar questions using the present perfect. For variety, use a different time adverb, and a different verb, in each question.
b) suggest 'follow-up' questions for more information, switch to the past simple tense to ask for the details:e.g. Have you read any books this month? How many books have you read? Which books did you read? Did you like them? What were they about? Why did you read them?
Ex. 46 Explain the use of Present Perfect in the following sentences:
l. I'm tidying up for tomorrow. When I've finished this I'll go and put the child to bed. 2. As soon as we have had some tea, John, we shall go to inspect your garden. 3. I said, "Well, don't take him away until I've had a chance to speak to him." 4. After we've done all the packing it will be nice to have a light meal. 5. I shall probably bore you to death by the time I've finished talking about myself. 6. tell you flatly that unless something has been done about your brother I won't go to that house. 7. With a shrug she said: "Their affair will fade into nothing before he's been here a week."
Ex. 47 Use the Present Perfect or the Present Indefinite in the following clauses of time referring to the future:
1.All right. I'll come down when I (to put) on a fresh collar. 2. When he (to be) off duty he'll go there. 3. "I must know where they are and I shall not rest till I (to see) them again," he thought. 4. "No more," she said to the dog, "but when I (to finish) you may have the bone." 5. Go on with your picture. We'll have a look at it when we (to return) from the party. 6. "I'll hand the book over when I (to read) it," he said. 7. "Has he gone?" she asked as soon as her sister entered. "No. He refuses to go till he (to see) you." I (not to develop) any new virtue. And what (to puzzle) me is why everybody (to want) me now. Surely they (not to want) me for myself but for something that (to be) outside me. It is for the recognition I (to receive). Then again for the money I (to earn)." "You (to break) my heart," she sobbed. "You (to know) I (to love) you." "If you (to love) me," he said gently, "then why your love (to be) weak enough to deny me?" "Forget and forgive," she cried. "I (to love) you all the time." "Oh, you (to do) nothing that (to require) forgiveness," he said impatiently. They (to sit) in silence for a long time. He (to know), now, that he had not really loved her. Ruth suddenly (to begin) to speak. "I know that much of what you (to say) is so, I (not to love) you well enough. In the last ten minutes I (to learn) much. I (to learn) to love better." "It's too late," he said. "I (to be) a sick man. It is my soul. I (to care) for nothing. Something (to go) out of me." Martin (to lean) his head back and (to close) his eyes. He (to forget) the presence of Ruth. He (to be) brought back to himself by the rattle of the door knob. Ruth (to try) to open the door. "Oh, forgive me," he cried, rising to his feet. "I (to forget) you (to be) here. I'll take you home."
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