Present Perfect Usage
Present Perfect / just, already, yet, ever, never
In English, we use the Present Perfect tense to talk about events that have happened very recently or just before the current moment. This tense is commonly used in British English. Americans often use the adverb “just” with the PAST tense to convey a similar meaning. The most common adverbs used in this tense are:
- I have just arrived at the bus station. (British English)
- I just arrived. (American English)
- I have already finished my homework.
- I haven’t sent the letter yet.
- We haven’t bought the ticket to London yet.
- You have made a lot of mistakes.
Notice that we use the verb “have” as the auxiliary verb, followed by the main verb. When the subject is I, we, or you, “have” is used. For subjects he and she, we use “has”.
- He has just gone to the supermarket.
- The train has already left.
- He hasn’t repaired the bike yet.
- He has never seen Istanbul before.
- Have you ever been to France?
- Have you scored any goals this week?
- Has she bought Amy’s last CD?
When asking questions, remember to invert “have” or “has” at the beginning of the sentence. Here, we use adverbs like “just” and “already” with the past tense in American English. However, the meaning remains similar.
The key difference lies in the completion of the event. In the Past Tense, the event is entirely finished. In the Present Perfect, the effect of the event might still continue. For instance, “he hasn’t repaired” indicates that the bike hasn’t been fixed yet. On the other hand, “he didn’t repair” in the Past Tense suggests that the action wasn’t completed at some point in the past. This is the most significant distinction. You can find detailed explanations on other pages. Perfect usage in English is often seen as challenging, but as you use it more, you’ll realize how easy it becomes.