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My name is Alisha, and today I'm going to give a short explanation of some basic uses
of the present perfect tense.
So, let's begin!
Okay, the present perfect tense, what I'm going to talk about today, there are two basic
points to think about when using the present perfect tense.
We use the present perfect tense, first, number one, to express a life experience so this
can be a life experience you have had, or a life experience you have never had.
So, we use this grammar point to talk about life experience but with one key nuance, this
life experience, it happened at a non-specific or an unimportant point in time, so the point
in time when this life experience happened is not important in this sentence.
In the sentence where you use the present perfect tense, the point in time where you
had the experience is not the focus of your statement, the focus of your statement is
just the life experience.
So, to give a visualization of this on a timeline with past present and future, the present
perfect tense is used to express a life experience at a non specific point in time meaning we
use it for some experience you had at some point before the present, some point before
the current conversation.
So we use the present perfect tense to talk about a life experience that happened at a
non-specific point in the past.
So when specifically this experience happened is not important, this grammar point allows
us to simply say that we have or have not had an experience.
So this is the first grammar point about the present perfect tense, the simple use of the
present perfect tense.
The next point I want to talk about though, is the second point, number two, here we use
the present perfect tense to talk about an action that started in the past and continues
to the present.
The effect of an action that started in the past continues to the present.
So this is a grammar point that's slightly different from number one that I talked about,
so the image here is an action that started at some point in the past, it began at some
point in the past, and it continues to the present, or the effects of that action continue
to the present.
So this is something we can use to talk about where we live, our studies, our work experience,
I'll show you in a couple of example sentences a little bit later, but this is the second
use; the second grammar point I want to talk a little bit about today.
So, it's important to note that when we use this second point, when we use the second
use of this grammar point, we often use the words “for” and “since” to express
that action that began in the past and continued to the present.
It gives the listener some extra information about the duration about how long that action
has continued, so the difference between “for” and “since,” many people make a mistake
So use of “for” and “since” is important with grammar point number two here, especially
because it gives the listener some information about how long the action has been happening.
So in an example sentence, you could say, “I have lived in Paris for three years,”
or you could say “I have lived in Paris since 2014.”
So you can hear “for” is used for a period of time, “I have lived in Paris for three
Three years is a period of time, your period of time can be years, months, days, minutes,
hours, and so on.
Any period of time can be used with the word “for.”
I have been teaching this lesson for few minutes.
I have been standing up for about an hour ,for example.
You can use a different time duration for different expressions, you can use this actually
a lot in your everyday life.
But on the other hand, let's talk about “since.”
So “since” is used for a point in time.
When we want to talk about a point in time where an action began, where an action started,
we can use “since.”
So for example, in my sentence, I said, I have lived in Paris since 2014.
So that “since” shows the exact year when I started living in Paris, I have lived in
Paris since 2014, and the action continues to the present.
So we can use “for” and “since” to show when an action began, and we also know
that that action is going to be continuing, that action will continue to the present.
So these are kind of the two grammar points I'd like to talk about.
Then lastly, I want to talk about how to make this grammar point, how to make the present
So I have three categories here, there's positive statements, negative statements, and questions
These are just the basic forms of these three types of sentences.
So, let's talk about a few different sentence patterns that we can make.
I have positive statements, negative statements, and question statements.
These are just a few examples of the type of sentences and questions that you can make
with this grammar point.
So first, to make a positive statement, we’ll use “have” or “has,” depending on
If your subject is “I,” for example, we’ll say “I have,” “you have,” and “we have;”
for “he” and “she,” “he has,” “she has,” and so on.
So depending on your subject, we will use “have” or “has,” next, we need to
include the past participle form of the verb.
So for example, “I have lived in Paris,” “lived” is the past participle form of
the verb “live.”
"I have been to Paris," so we can use these past participle forms of verbs “been”
in this case to talk about the present perfect tense.
To use the present perfect tense, please try to remember your past participle forms of
But I find that one of the best ways to get used to using the correct form of the verb
here is just practicing in sentences, it's a little bit difficult to memorize all the
verbs just from a list, so try practicing them in sentences to remember.
Let's talk then about how to make a negative statement.
So a life experience you have not had, this is the sentence pattern that you can use to
So again, depending on your subject, use “have” or “has;” “I have,” “he has,”
and so on.
Next, we'll include “never.”
So “I have never,” “he has never,” “they have never,” “you have never,”
and so on.
So this “never” shows no experience, this is our negative expression.
Then finally, we'll include the past participle form of the verb, so “I have never eaten horse,”
“He has never visited Italy,” and so on.
These make negative statements with “never.”
Okay, and finally, a couple of different question patterns that we can use.
There are a lot of different questions, yes and no questions, information questions.
Let's take a look at a simple one, a simple yes/no pattern.
So again, we begin with our “has” and “have” depending on the subject here.
So “have you been,” for example, with the past participle verb.
“Has she seen,” and so on.
So again, we need to use this past participle form of the verb when making our questions.
You might have heard people use “ever;” I have here at the bottom, this “ever”
in this sentence style, “have you ever been to France?”
“Have you ever eaten something?”
This “ever,” the nuance of this “ever” is in your whole life experience, so “ever”
kind of amplifies, “ever” emphasizes the importance of your life experience, in your
entire life, have you had the experience of something.
This "ever" emphasizes your entire life's experience.
If you say, for example, “have you seen that movie?”
It sounds like maybe it's a recent movie, but if you say "have you ever seen such and
It sounds like maybe the movie is a little bit older.
So especially in cases where you'd like to emphasize something that's not so recent,
you might consider using "ever" in your questions.
"Have you ever been to a different country?"
"Have you ever studied something else?"
So using ever shows that maybe you're thinking about something a little bit further back,
a little bit more in the past in someone's life.
Okay, so now that we know this, let's take a look at a few examples sentences that I've
So first I have, they ______ in Germany.
So here, I want to use the verb "live," so the past participle form of the verb live
is lived, and my subject here is "they."
So I need to use "they have lived in Germany."
This is a very very simple sentence, they have lived in Germany.
I'm using this simple structure, this simple grammar point number one which we talked about.
So this is just a life experience, when did they live in Germany?
We don't know, but it's just the experience that we want to focus on in this sentence.
I could change the sentence to say, "they have lived in Germany since 1999."
In that case, it means they live in Germany now, also.
However, if they do not live in Germany, they only want to express their life experience
of living in Germany, they could say, they have lived in Germany.
They have lived in Germany, only that sentence.
So please be careful, "they have lived in Germany since 1999" shows they still live
Saying "they have lived in Germany" shows only a life experience.
If you'd like to give more information about where they live now, do it in the next sentence.
"They have lived in Germany, but they travel around a lot, and now they're living in Paris,"
So using the present progressive tense to give some more information in the next sentence.
Okay, so here we see grammar point number one is being used in this first sentence.
Let's take a look here at a negative sentence.
"I _____ never ______ to Italy" here.
We have the subject "I" here, we know that it's a negative sentence because it's "never,"
so we need to use "I have never," and then if I want to use the verb "be," if I want
to use the verb "be," the past participle form of the verb be is been.
"I have never been to Italy" is the correct sentence here.
So I'm expressing no experience in my life, "I have never been to Italy," meaning as we
talked about with grammar point number one, in my whole life I have not had an experience.
So there's no time point being used here, I have never had the experience of going to
Ok, now, let's talk about the next example sentence, "she ______ the test three times."
So here I want to use the verb "take," so to take a test, take is going to be the verb
for this sentence.
So here my subject is "she," and I know this is a positive sentence, a positive statement,
so I'm going to use "has," "she has."
And take, the past participle form of the verb take is taken.
"She has taken the test three times."
So this sentence shows in her life experience, at three times, three points in her life,
she has taken the test.
So we don't know when she took the test but we know she has taken the three times at some
point in the past.
This is what this sentence teaches us, we don't know when, just that she has taken the
test three times.
Okay, next, let's look at this sentence, may be a very useful sentence for some people
who are watching this video on this channel.
So this is "I ________ English for two years."
Okay, so there's a big hint word here, I have the word "for" included in this sentence.
Remember we use "for" to talk about a time period, a time period.
So that connects to grammar point two which we talked about over here.
So remember with grammar point number two for present perfect tense, we're showing an
action that started in the past and continues to the present.
Okay, so the verb I want to use here is "study."
So my subject is "I," so I need to use "have" in this case, and the past participle form
of study is studied, so "I have studied English for two years."
This shows us a length of time, a period of time, a duration of your studies, it shows
your studies are continuing, you are still studying English.
Two years ago you started and you have continued since that time, you have continued study
in for two years.
So this sentence shows us that you have studied English, and how long you have studied English,
lots of information here.
Okay, let's talk about the next sentence, a question sentence now.
Okay, so here my subject, I have "he," "he" is here, so I know that because the subject
of the sentence is he, I need to begin my question with "has," "has he ______" So here
I want to use the verb "take," take out the trash is sort of a set phrase.
So the past participle form of take is taken.
"Has he taken out the trash?"
Meaning perhaps today at some point has he taken out the trash?
So maybe we don't know when, and when he took out the trash is not important, just has he
finished the task at some point today.
So we used the present perfect tense for that.
So we can use the simple past sentence "did he take out the trash?"
But the reason that it sounds a little bit more natural to say "has he taken out the
trash" is because of this point we talked about here, the effects of that action.
So if he did or did not take out the trash, it could affect the people around him, or
the environment around him.
So "has he taken out the trash?"
If the answer is no, it might mean there's some negative effect in the environment; if
the answer is yes, perhaps it means the people in the environment will be happy, there will
be a happy effect of that.
So this is the consideration, it's a very very small point.
If you ask "did he take out the trash," it's okay to use but keep in mind though you may
hear people say "has he taken out the trash" as well, and this is the reason why, the effect
of taking out the trash is what's kind of the nuance of this expression.
So let's talk about the next example sentence, "which countries _____ you ______ to?"
So in casual kind of more everyday friendly spoke in English, it's okay to end your sentence
with a preposition, in this case, to.
So here, I have an information question, which countries, I need to use "have" or "has" here,
plus "you," so that tells me I should use "have," "which countries have you," and I
want to use again the verb "be" here.
So I know it should be been.
"Which countries have you been to?"
So again, in your life experience, which countries have you been to?When is not important, just
in your life, where, which countries.
Okay, let's look at the next one.
You'll see I have a little apostrophe, maybe you can see it on the screen there, there's
a little apostrophe here, which is a pronunciation hint.
So this is a yes-or-no question.
"You' ____ never _____ a motorcycle?"
So motorcycle, the verb I want to use with motorcycle is "ride."
The past participle form is ridden.
"You've never ridden a motorcycle?" is the complete sentence here.
So I mentioned this pronunciation hint, "you have" becomes "you've" in the contracted form,
So try not to use "you have," "he has," "she has," tried to use that apostrophe-VE or apostrophe-S
sound when you're speaking.
"You've never," "he's never," "she's never" sounds a lot more natural and a lot more fluid
fluent as well than "he has" or "she has" or "you have."
So please try to use the contracted form here.
So this sentence, "you've never ridden a motorcycle?"
Meaning in your life experience, you have never ridden a motorcycle, so this is a yes
or no question.
No, I've never ridden a motorcycle could be the answer; or yes, I have actually ridden
So this is a simple yes-or-no question but we use the negative form here, you've never,
it sounds surprised, this sounds kind of shocked.
Okay, let's look at our next example sentence.
"We _____ never _______."
The verb I want to use for this sentence is "work."
Okay, so the past participle form of work is worked here, okay.
And "we" is the subject of the sentence, so we're going to use "We have never worked internationally."
In our life experience, we do not have the experience of working internationally.
Okay, finally, "They ______ in Paris since 2015."
So just as we practice with this example sentence with "for," here we see "since."
So this shows us that maybe a specific point in time, in this case, 2015, is going to give
us some extra information about this situation.
So let's use the verb "live" again, we know that the past participle form of live is lived.
And we'll use "have" because our subject is "they."
So "They have lived in Paris since 2015."
So this sentence shows us that in 2015 they moved to Paris, and they have lived in Paris,
they have continued living in Paris since that time.
This sentence shows us that with "since."
Okay, so those are a few example sentences and a short introduction to how to use the
present perfect tense, and also a little bit of information on using "for" and "since."
So I hope that this lesson was useful for you!
If you have any questions or comments, or want to try making a few example sentences,
feel free to do so in the comment section of this video.
Also, please make sure to like this video and subscribe to our channel if you haven't
already, also check us out at EnglishClass101.com for more good stuff.
Thanks very much for watching this lesson, and I will see you again soon, bye!