past time: present perfect simple

  • Forms

    Affirmative Question Negative
    I have worked you have worked, etc have I worked? have you worked? etc I have not worked you have not worked, etc
  • Meaning
    We use the present perfect simple to say that something in the past is connected with the present in some way.
    If we say that something has happened, we are thinking about the past and the present at the same time.
    We could often change a present perfect sentence into a present sentence with the same meaning.
      I’ve broken my leg. = My leg is broken now.
      Have you read the Bible? = Do you know the Bible?
      We do not use the present perfect simple if we are not thinking about the present.
      I saw Lucy yesterday.
      (NOT I have seen Lucy yesterday.)
  • Finished actions: result now
    We often use the present perfect to talk about finished actions, when we are thinking of their present consequences: the results that they have now.
    Somebody has shot the manager.
    The manager is dead.
    FINISHED ACTION
    RESULT NOW
    Other examples:
    Have you read the Bible? Mary has had a baby.
    I’ve broken my leg.
    Utopia has invaded Fantasia.
    Do you know the Bible? Baby.
    I can’t walk.
    War.
    FINISHED ACTION
    RESULT NOW
    We often use the present perfect to give news.
      And here are the main points of the news again. The pound has fallen against the dollar. The Prime Minister has said that the government’s economic policies are working. The number of unemployed has reached five million. There has been a fire . . .
  • Finished actions: time up to now
    We often use the present perfect to ask if something has ever happened; to say that it has happened before-, or that it has never happened; or not since a certain date; or not fora certain period; to ask if it has happened yet; or to say that it has happened already.
    Have you ever seen a ghost?
    >?EVER^EVER[^~EVER~^ EVERf°°) EVERp] EVER?^>
    NOW
    I’ve never seen a ghost.
    >NEVER^NEVER^ NEVER j^NEVERj^NEVER ^j~^> NOW
    I ‘m sure we’ve met before We haven’t had a holiday for ages.
    I haven’t seen Peter since Christmas.
    Has Ann come yet? ‘Yes, she has already arrived ‘
  • Repeated actions up to now
    We use the present perfect to say that something has happened several times up to the present.
    I’ve written six letters since lunchtime.
    PAST-
    NOW
    How often have you been in love in your life?
  • Actions and states continuing up to now
    We use the present perfect to talk about actions, states and situations which started in the past and still continue.
    PAST
    PAST
    PAST
    PAST
    PAST

    I’ve studied hard for years. > NOW
    I’ve known him since 1960. > NOW
    I’ve always liked you. > NOW
    How long have you been here? > NOW
    We’ve always lived here. > NOW

    We also use the present perfect progressive in this way.
    For the difference, see 244.4.
    Do not use the simple present to say how long something has gone on.
    I’ve known him since 1960. (NOT I know him . . .)

  • Present perfect not used
    We do not use the present perfect with adverbs of finished time (like yesterday, last week, then, three years ago, in 1960).
    I saw Lucy yesterday (NOT I have seen Lucy yesterday.)
    Tom was ill last week (NOT -Tom has been ill last week.)
    What did you do then? (NOT What have you done then?)
    She died three years ago (NOT She has died three years ago.)
    He was born in 1960 (NOT -He has been bom in 1960.)
    We do not use the present perfect in ‘narrative’ — when we tell stories, or give details of past events.
    For the structure This is the first time I have ….