Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?
I’ve been to London, to visit the queen.
Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you there?
I chased a mouse from under her chair.
How do we use the Present Perfect Tense?
This tense is called the present perfect tense. There is always a connection with the past and with the present. There are basically three uses for the present perfect tense:
- continuing situation
1. Present perfect tense for experience
We often use the present perfect tense to talk about experience from the past. We are not interested in when you did something. We only want to know if you did it:
|The action or state was in the past.||In my head, I have a memory now.|
Connection with past: the event was in the past.
Connection with present: in my head, now, I have a memory of the event; I know something about the event; I have experience of it.
2. Present perfect tense for change
We also use the present perfect tense to talk about a change or new information:
|I have bought a car.|
|Last week I didn’t have a car.||Now I have a car.|
|John has broken his leg.|
|Yesterday John had a good leg.||Now he has a bad leg.|
|Has the price gone up?|
|Was the price $1.50 yesterday?||Is the price $1.70 today?|
|The police have arrested the killer.|
|Yesterday the killer was free.||Now he is in prison.|
Connection with past: the past is the opposite of the present.
Connection with present: the present is the opposite of the past.
3. Present perfect tense for continuing situation
We often use the present perfect tense to talk about a continuing situation. This is a state that started in the past and continues in the present (and will probably continue into the future). This is a state (not an action). We usually use for or since with this structure.
|I have worked here since June.
He has been ill for 2 days.
How long have you known Tara?
|The situation started in the past.||It continues up to now.||(It will probably continue into the future.)|
Connection with past: the situation started in the past.
Connection with present: the situation continues in the present.