Present Perfect

1. USES WITH OTHER PRESENT TENSES

We use Present Perfect with other present tenses:

  • with report / comment verbs or phrases (guess, imagine, suppose etc.):
    I reckon she has been held up in traffic.
    Do you suppose they have forgotten they are meant to be here?
  • with the phrase This is / It’s / That’s the first / second / only, etc. time …:
    This is the first time he‘s been late.
    It’s the only time I’ve ever really got angry with him.
  • when an event is unusual or unique in your life (often with a superlative and never or ever):
    I‘ve never met anybody who is so absent-minded.
    BUT
    We use a Past tense to refer to someone who is dead: Nelson Mandela was the most extraordinary person I‘ve ever read about.
  • when commenting on the present results of something in the past (usually with appear, seem, sound, etc.):
    He sounds as if he has run all the way here.
    It seems they’ve already made up their minds without consulting us.

2. USES WITH PAST TENSES

We use Present Perfect with Past tenses:

  • to describe states or events that have continued since a time in the past (with since, ever since, etc.):
    He has been more careful since he had that warning.
    Ever since I first heard it I have been trying to find a recording of that song.
  • to describe long-term or repeated feelings and thoughts about past events:
    I have often wondered when he decided to become a teacher.
    I have always felt we did the wrong thing when we took her on as an assistant.

3. USE WITH ANOTHER PRESENT PERFECT

We use Present Perfect with another Present Perfect:

  • to describe two states that have existed since a time in the past:
    Since I’ve known him, he has always worn the same sweater.

4. USE WITH FUTURE FORMS

In time clauses (after when, as soon as, until, before, etc.) we don’t use will, and so the Future Perfect will have done is not possible. In these cases we use Present Perfect to refer to the future:
We’ll continue the meeting when he has recovered his composure.

5. USE WITH SINCE AND YET

Note the position and the emphatic use of since and yet:
There was no news this morning but we’ve since learned that she’s in Rome.
I haven’t met anyone yet who can run as fast as him.

6. COMMON PHRASES

  • They’ve made it! (= They’ve succeeded)
  • I’ve had enough. (= I’m fed up. I don’t want to do any more)
  • You’ve had it! (= You are in trouble!)
  • That’s torn it! (= You, we, etc. have done something that someone else will complain about)
  • Now you’ve done it! (= You’ve done something seriously wrong)
  • She’s arrived. (= She’s achieved fame, success, acceptance, etc. at last)
  • He’s lost it. (= He’s lost his patience or self-control)
  • You’ve got me there! (= Good point: I’ve no idea what the solution is)

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