Present Perfect Tense: Definition, Structure and Uses

IELTS

10 mins read
Raj
Raj Vimal
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Apr 18, 2024 16:04 IST

We use the present perfect tense to talk about actions that happened in the near past and still affect the present. The Present Perfect Tense is considered the toughest form of tense to understand and students make grammatical. Regularly practising present perfect tense structure will help you to ace the exams.

present perfect tense

Have plans to appear in the upcoming English Proficiency exams? Want to assess your English proficiency? Having good knowledge of English grammar and tense rules is an advantage to score well in IELTS Exam. In this blog, we have covered the Present Perfect Tense in detail. We have also added relevant examples that will help you to understand sentence formation.

We use the present perfect tense to talk about actions that happened in the near past and still have an effect on the present. It is slightly complicated to understand. According to the Present Perfect Tense Structure, It uses the auxiliary verb or helping verb and V3 (third form of verb). For example- I have lost my keys (Keys are still missing).  

Learn about the tenses in English grammar with examples here.

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Table of Contents

What is Present Perfect Tense?

Present perfect tense is a form of Present tense which is used to represent an action that just happened in the recent past and is still directly related to the present. We have mentioned a definition that will help you to understand more easily.

Present Perfect Tense Definition

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of Present perfect tense is “The tense you use to talk about actions or events that happen in both the past and the present”.

Examples of Present Perfect Tense

  • Positive- I have come a long way.
  • Negative- I have not come a long way.
  • Interrogative- Have I come a long way?
  • Interrogative Negative- Haven’t I come a long way?

Present Perfect Tense Structure

Here is the sentence structure or formula of the Present Perfect Tense.

Present Perfect Tense Structure

Positive

Subject + have/has + past participle (V3) + the rest of the sentence

I/you/they/we (S) have eaten (V3).

Negative

Subject + have/has + not + past participle (V3) + the rest of the sentence

You have not eaten.

Interrogative

Have/has + subject + past participle (V3) + the rest of the sentence

Have we eaten?

Negative Interrogative

Have/has + subject + not + past participle (V3) + the rest of the sentence

Has she not eaten?

You must understand the rules of structure formation to learn the Present Perfect Tense. The rules mentioned in this table will help you to understand the rules and structure of Present Perfect Tense.

Check out:

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Use of Present Perfect Tense

Now, let us understand the uses of Present Perfect Tense in different situations to inform about an incident that happened in past but still affecting your life in the present. We have also mentioned sentences that will help you to learn the formation and rules.

Situations

Present Perfect Tense Sentences

Action Begins in Past but Affects You in Present

  • I have completed my graduation from Mumbai University. (Studied in Past and Educated today)
  • I have eaten breakfast in the morning, so I am full. (Ate something in the morning and do not want to eat something in the present)
  • I have adopted a cat and she is my only pet. (Adopted a cat in past)

Action Completed With Undefined Timing

  • I have eaten pizza this week.
  • Ram has visited Tamil Nadu

(In both cases, time is undefined but the main focus is on “Eat” and “Visit”).

Timing Based

  • I have just finished reading that book.
  • I have just reached Delhi

(Here, we added “Just” to show that actions happened recently. Present perfect tense won’t work with “Yesterday”, “Last week” or previous year.)

The present perfect lets you talk about things that started in the past but are still happening in the present.

Is Knowledge of Present Perfect Tense Helpful for Exams?

Duolingo English Test, PTE Exam, and TOEFL Exam are some of the popularly known English proficiency tests. These tests assess your Listening, writing, and speaking skills in the English language. Knowledge of Present Perfect Tense structure will help you in sentence formation. In these tests, you may need to explain a life experience that happened in the past. Also, how it changed your life. There, you need to use the Present perfect tense.

Present Perfect Tense Example in Interview:

Hi, My name is XYZ. I have studied at the University of Oxford, which is one of the top universities in the world. I have volunteered at local NGOs to help street animals. It has helped me to improve my communication. I have learnt several new skills in my student days that is helping me to overcome my fears.

Some More Examples

  • Beginner Level- I have eaten.
  • Intermediate Level- I have eaten too much cake.
  • Advanced Level- I have eaten too much cake and now I am facing issues.

Also read about:

Common Mistakes Students Make in the Present Perfect Tense Sentences

Here are some common mistakes that students make while framing their sentences with the Present Perfect Tense Structure.

  • No Knowledge About Past Participle- Students should avoid this common mistake. They do not use proper verb form and make the sentences incorrect.
  • I have gone (Correct).
  • I have went there. (Incorrect).
  • Subject-verb agreement errors- Mostly, students do not know the correct “use of Has and Have”. They use “has” with “I, We, and You.
  • Ram has played football in the morning, so he is resting now. (Correct)
  • We has played football in the morning, so we are resting now. (Incorrect)
  • Not Knowing the Difference between Different Forms of Tenses- It looks like a very common mistake but this can lead you to blunders and you can lose your score in the IELTS exam.
  • I have just met Rohit Sharma. (Correct)
  • I have met Rohit Sharma last week. (Incorrect)

In the first sentence, the incident happened recently but in the second sentence, the incident happened last week. According to the Present Perfect Rules, we can’t use “Yesterday”, “Last week” or the previous year.

Also Read:

IELTS Listening Section Tips

IELTS Reading Section Tips

IELTS Writing Section Tips

IELTS Speaking Section Tips 

Difference Between Present Perfect Tense and Simple Past Tense

Many students with weak English grammar get confused between Present Perfect and Simple Past Tense. This confusion can lead to mistakes and you can lose some scores in English proficiency tests. Well, understanding the basic difference between these two tenses can help you avoid these errors.

 

Simple Past Tense

Present Perfect Tense

Definition

The simple past tense focuses on completed actions in the past. You can easily identify these sentences by looking for time markers, such as yesterday, last week, or specific dates.

In the present perfect tense, the action begins in past but is still ongoing or impacting the present.

 

For Example

I played football last night. (Here action completed in past).

I have played football for 5 years. (Action begins in past and is still ongoing).

Also check out:

IELTS Pattern IELTS Syllabus
IELTS Books & Resources IELTS Practice Test Papers

Practice in Past Will Make Your Present Perfect

Now that you're familiar with the definition, structure, and uses of the present perfect tense, it's time to clear your concept through practice. There are multiple tools and resources available online where you can assess your knowledge. An effective practice plan is to make sentences using your own life experiences. This approach will help you prepare for your upcoming proficiency exams. Below, we have mentioned some sentences for you to practice.

Beginner Level

  1. We haven't seen that movie yet. (unfinished action)
  2. They have bought a new car. (completed action)
  3. Have you ever climbed a mountain? (question - lifetime experience)
  4. They have written five essays this semester. (achievement)
  5. We haven't received any mail this week. (unfinished action)
  6. She has visited all seven continents. (achievement)
  7. I have eaten too much chocolate! (recent completion)
  8. They have climbed Mount Everest. (achievement)
  9. I have lost my phone! (completed action)
  10. Have you ever seen a shooting star? (question - lifetime experience)

Fill in the Blanks: Beginner-Level

In these 10 Sentences of Present Perfect Tense, you have to fill in Has/Have in one place and the verb in the second place.

  1. I ___________ _________lunch in the new restaurant in our city (third form of “EAT”).
  2. Rohan_____ ____ the stadium yet but we are going today. (third form of “VISIT”).
  3. ________ you ever_______ Shushi? (third form of “EAT”).
  4. _______ she _____ football in ground? (third form of “PLAY”).
  5. Kamal _____ ______ his keys. (third form of “LOSE”).
  6. _______ Rohit ______ the world cup yet? (third form of “WIN”)
  7. I _______, _____ my work. (third form of “FINISH”)
  8. ______ she _____ football? (third form of “PLAY”)
  9. We _____, ______ that movie yet. (third form of "WATCH").
  10. He ____, ______ three novels so far. (third form of "WRITE") 

Answers

1. Have, Eaten

2. Has, Visited

3. Have, Eaten

4. Has, Played

5. Has, Lost

6. Haven’t, Won

7. Have not, Finished

8. Has, Played 

9. Hasn't, Watched

10. Has, Written

 

 

Intermediate Level

  1. I have woken up early every day this week. (habit)
  2. We have already made breakfast. (recent completion)
  3. I have just finished reading that book. (very recent action)
  4. You have just started learning a new language. (very recent action)
  5. She has lived in this city for ten years. (duration)

Fill in the Blanks: Intermediate Level

  1. We _______ not _______ where to go on vacation yet. (Third form of "Decide")
  2. My parents ______ _______ each other. (Third Form of "Know").
  3. ____ you ever ______ a bone? (Third Form of "Break")
  4. They _____ _____ the lottery! (Third Form of "Win")
  5. I ______ just _____ home from work (Third Form of "Arrive")

Answers

1. Have, Decided

2. Have, Known

3. Have, Broken

4. Have, Won

5. Have, Arrived

 

Advance Level

  1. We haven't seen each other since graduation. (Experiences)
  2. Scientists have discovered a new form of sustainable energy. (Completed Actions)
  3. The company has just released its newest product line. (Completed Actions)
  4. I have travelled extensively throughout Asia. (Experiences)
  5. She has graduated from medical school with top honours. (Achievement)

Fill in the Blanks: Advance Level

  1. I _____ just ______ watching that documentary. (Third Form of "Finish")
  2. She _____ never even ______ skydiving. (Third Form of "Try")
  3. She ______ not ______ to her family in over a year. (Third Form of "Speak")
  4. She _______ ______ you earlier, and I'm sure. (Third Form of "See")
  5. We _____ both _________ extensively but to different regions. (Third Form of "Travel")

Answers

1. Have, Finished

2. Has, Tried

3. Has, Spoken

4. Has, Seen

5. Have, Travelled

 

That’s all about this topic. Now, you have knowledge about the Present Perfect Tense. You know the definition, structure as well as uses. This knowledge will be especially helpful as you improve your speaking and writing skills, which are both assessed in the upcoming IELTS exam. Keep practicing.

Related Blogs

Present Perfect Tense FAQs

Q. What is present perfect tense and example?

A. Present Perfect Tense is used to describe the incident that happened in past and is still ongoing currently. It uses the auxiliary verbs 'has' or 'have' with Part Participle (V3).

For example- I have played football this week.

Q. What is the use of Present Perfect Tense in English Proficiency exam?

A. In English proficiency exams, you can use the Present perfect tense while answering about your life experiences, work experience, and other actions that happened in past but are relevant to present situations.

For example- I have visited USA, and Canada many times.

Q. What is the rule of present perfect tense?

A. According to Present Perfect rules, you need to use Has/Have after subject and third form of verb. Here are some more rules

  • Use "have" with I, We, You and plural subjects.
  • Use "has" with He, She, It and third-person singular subjects.
  • Use V3 (past participle) that indicates an action is completed.
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Raj Vimal
Study Abroad Expert

Raj Vimal has experience of 7+ years in SEO Content Writing, which includes 5+ years in the Ed-Tech industry. He has written articles about studying abroad, especially in the USA, UK, and other English-speaking coun... Read Full Bio

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