Grammar: The Present Perfect

In this episode from Perfect English Podcast, you will learn about English grammar and specifically, the present perfect. You will use the present perfect confidently after you listen to this episode. Listen to the podcast and take the quiz to check your understanding and retain the information you learn in this episode from Perfect English Podcast.

Perfect English Podcast Episode 56 – Grammar: The Present Perfect Audio

Perfect English Podcast Episode 56 – Grammar: The Present Perfect Quiz

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I have known him _____ I was at school.

Correct! Wrong!

The science of medicine ______ a great deal in the 19th century.

Correct! Wrong!

In the last fifty years, medical scientists ______ many important discoveries.

Correct! Wrong!

A: Hi Judy. Welcome to the party. _______ my cousin?

B: No, I _______.

Correct! Wrong!

I have known her _____ ten years.

Correct! Wrong!

I admit that I ______ since I last _____ you, but with any luck at all, I ______ wiser.

Correct! Wrong!

What ______ since you ______ here? And how many new friends ______?

Correct! Wrong!

Last night my friend and I _____ some free time, so we ______ to a show.

Correct! Wrong!

Since classes began, I ________ much free time.

Correct! Wrong!

A: Do you like lobster?

B: I don't know. I _______ it.

Correct! Wrong!

Perfect English Podcast Episode 56 - Grammar: The Present Perfect Quiz
Perfect English Podcast Episode 56 - Grammar: The Present Perfect Quiz

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Episode Transcript

0:04
Welcome to a new episode from perfect English podcast. Today is all about grammar. And we’re going to focus today on the present perfect. But before we start, let me remind you that I have included a quiz for you at the end of this podcast, you can check your understanding and it’s very good to retain the information you learn from this episode, all you have to do is follow the link I have left you in the description of this episode, and you’re good to go. And now we’re ready to start talking about the present perfect. Now the present perfect might sound a little bit complicated and difficult, but it’s a lot simpler than you think. And once you understand the three key uses of the present perfect everything will be easy. Now before we dive in the uses of the present perfect Let me remind you quickly that the present perfect is formed using the subject the auxiliary verb have or has and the main verb in the past participle. So for example, we say, I have seen, i is the subject have is the auxiliary verb and seen is the past participle of the verb See, obviously, the past participle of regular verbs is formed only by adding Ed just like the past simple, but with the irregular verbs, you will have to refer to an irregular verb chart and find out the past participle form of the irregular verb. And now let’s start with the more important thing and that is, when do we use the present perfect, I will start with an example. They have moved into a new apartment they have moved we know it’s present perfect because here the verb have is the auxiliary and the main verb is in the past participle moved. And now if we think about the sentence, they have moved into a new apartment, the thing actually happened in the past because no matter when it happened, Whether it happened yesterday or if it happened a month ago, they have moved they are there. They’re not moving now they’re done moving. It is something that happened in the past but still we don’t use it in the past simple. We use it in the present perfect. So why do we use present to talk about something in the past and in this case, its present perfect. Well, the present perfect expresses the idea that something happened or never happened before. Now, at an unspecified time in the past, and this is the key at an unspecified time in the past, the exact time it happened is not mentioned because it is not important. So that is the key difference between the present perfect and the past simple. When the present perfect talks about something that happened in the past. It is not an exam where you just go and search the sentence for anything that denotes specific time in the past, so you know that you need to use the past simple or if you don’t find any word that refers to a specific time in the past, you use the present perfect. It’s up to you. Remember, you’re learning how to use the present perfect so that you can use it in your conversation. And in your conversation. It’s up to you whether you want to add specific time in the past in your own sentence, or you don’t and the reason behind that is very simple is the time important if I go back to the sentence, they have moved into a new apartment, if I just add to it last month, then I should use the past simple instead. I should say they moved into a new apartment last month. So what is the difference then? Well, the difference is what I think is important if I want to focus on the action itself that they have moved into a new apartment and the important thing actually is the result of the action that they are in a new apartment. Now, this is the heart of the present perfect to talk about things that happened in the past. The time is not specified in the past because it doesn’t matter. Because it’s not important. The important thing is that the action happened. And there are usually results that I refer to in the present. Now to understand the meaning even better, the best way is to look at other examples. For example, we can say, Have you ever visited Mexico? Now when I say have you ever visited Mexico? I am not talking about a specific time in the past. I did not say did you visit Mexico last year or last week? I did not specify the time in the past because it’s not important. My question here if this thing happened, or never happened before. Now, that’s my question. I’m talking about your experience.

4:55
Your experience matters here. What I’m asking Actually, if you have this experience or not, so that is the real reason behind this question. That’s what I want to ask. And the tool to do that is the present perfect. Another example, I have never seen snow. Now when you say I have never seen snow, of course, we use the present perfect here because the time is not specified in the past. That’s the technical part. But if you look beyond this, you will understand that it’s not only about this, I have never seen snow. I’m talking about my life experience, whether I’m talking about something I have done or about something I haven’t done, like in this example, I have never seen snow. Maybe I want to say that I would like to see snow because I have never seen it before. Or maybe I’m just saying that I don’t have this experience in my life. So remember, it’s always up to you. What do you want to say grammar is never meant to be mechanical because when it is meant Mechanical is going to be boring and to be honest, then it’s not even fun to teach. It’s going to be something like just one plus one equals two. And that’s it. No, it’s not, it is what you want to say. And you choose the right tools for the job. So we’ve talked about the first main and most important use of the present perfect, and that is when we want to talk about things that happened or never happened before. Now, and the time is not specified in the past. And if you notice, in the last two examples, I use the adverbs ever and never. And these are common adverbs that are used with the present perfect. I’m not saying they’re exclusive. I’m saying they are frequently used with present perfect, and among these adverbs are ever never already yet still. And just for example, we can say jack hasn’t seen it yet, or we can say and started a letter to her parents last week, but she still has hasn’t finished it. Or we can say Alex feels bad. He has just heard some bad news. That was about the first and the most common use of the present perfect. But obviously, that’s not everything about the present perfect. Let’s move on to talk about a new purpose, we have to use the present perfect. Now the present perfect also expresses the repetition of an activity before. Now, of course, the exact time of each repetition is not important. Again, time is not important because the action is important. And more importantly, the result of the action is more important. For example, we can say we have had four tests so far this semester. So we’re talking about the repetition of an activity before now we have had four tests. The tests are done. We’re not doing them. But obviously two things to notice here. We don’t have a specific time in the past they just happen We don’t care actually when they happen. The second thing is what we can read between the lines here that the person who says that is trying to say something, we’ve had four tests. Imagine somebody saying that to a teacher, we’ve had four tests so far this semester. That’s enough. We don’t want any more. Or maybe it’s a different attitude. Maybe the student is happy about it. Who knows.

8:24
And also we’re talking about this semester, not the last semester, which is over, we can’t add anything to it. It’s still open, we may still have more tests this semester. And that is why we use the word so far, because the number of repetitions we’re talking about may add up. Now let’s take a look at another example. I have written my wife a letter every other day for the last two weeks. So here I’m talking again, repetition of an activity before now the exact time is not important. and here if we think about the sentence, what is the relationship between the sentence and the Present, I have written my wife a letter every other day for the last two weeks. It depends on the situation. It depends on the context, obviously, but maybe this person is trying to say I have written enough, or I have written a lot, or she can’t complain that I haven’t written her enough letters or whatever idea this person might have. So obviously, the focus of this sentence is not just history of what happened. Now I’m focusing more on the results of what happened and how it relates to the present. And this is very important to think about because when you use the present perfect, you can say more with fewer words. You don’t have to say what you mean every single time you can simply use a tense that is appropriate in the case you want to use and you can say a lot in just one sentence. Now let’s take a look at this example. I have met many people since I came here in June. I have met many people and here also We’re talking about the repetition of an activity before Now the time is not important. But think again. What do I mean? I have met many people since I came here in June. What am I talking about? I’m talking about that I have a lot of friends. Now. I know a lot of people now I’m okay in this place. Don’t worry about me. Because I have met many people since I came here in June. We don’t know exactly what the person is trying to say. But actually, it’s not just saying that I met these people. And that’s it. I’m just telling you what happened. If you want to tell somebody what just happened, use the past simple, it’s a lot better. And one last example. I have flown on an airplane many times. So think about it. Why would the person say that? I have flown on an airplane many times. I have this experience. I’m not afraid of planes. I’m okay with that. Maybe that’s what they’re trying to say. So remember, the present perfect can also be used to talk about the repetition Have an activity before now. And again, the exact time of each repetition is not important. And now we come to the third and last important use of the present perfect that we want to talk about today. And that is the use of the present perfect with for or since now let’s take a look at this example. I have been here since seven o’clock. Now why didn’t we say I was here since seven o’clock doesn’t work because I was here that’s in the past that started in the past that finished in the past what I’m trying to say in this sentence that I have been here since seven o’clock and I’m still here. So we’re talking about a situation that began in the past and continues to the present. Let’s take a look at another example. We have been here for two weeks, and we’re still here. That’s the point this thing began in the past and continues to the present. So this use is a more obvious use to tell us why we call this the present. Perfect, not the past, it doesn’t have to do with the past, something started in the past and continues to the present. Now notice the use of since and for is slightly different, the meaning is the same. They’re both used to talk about something that started in the past and still continues to the present. But the phrases we use after since and four are different, we use since with a particular time with a specific time, and we use four with a duration of time, not a specific time. Now notice in the first two examples I used when I said I have been here since seven o’clock, seven o’clock is a specific time is a particular time. Now when I said in the second example, we have been here for two weeks I used a duration of time was for set for two weeks or two weeks. It doesn’t have to be two weeks obviously it could be two weeks, one hour, two years, two decades doesn’t matter. But the idea is that it should be Be a duration of time,

13:01
and not a specific time. Now let’s take a look at some other examples. I have had this same pair of shoes for three years. The first important thing we need to notice here is that I still have them. And that’s the most important thing. I bought them three years ago, and I still have them today. And the second important thing we need to notice here is that we use a duration of time with 4% for three years. Another example, I have liked cowboy movies ever since I was a child here. I have liked cowboy movies. What does that mean? Do I still like cowboy movies? Of course I do. That’s why I use the present perfect. I’ve liked cowboy movies ever since I was a child since I was a child I was a child in this case is a particular time. It’s not a duration of time, and that’s why we use sense with it. And the last example, I have known him for many years, obviously I still know him so the actions started in the past and still continues to the present and we use for not since because we’re talking about a duration of time, many years. Notice something else as well that the verbs used in the present perfect to express a situation that began in the past and still exists are typically verbs with a state of meaning. All the verbs we use here are the verbs be have like and no, because because usually when we talk about action verbs that started in the past and still continues to the present, we use the present perfect continuous, which we will talk about in other episodes. And now to wrap up let’s remember quickly what we said today, we said that we can use the present perfect to express an idea that something happened or never happened before now, at an unspecified time in the past, because the exact time is not important and we can also use the present perfect to express the repetition of Activity before now and again the exact time of each repetition is not important. And finally, we talked about the present perfect when we use it with for and since to express a situation that began in the past and still continues to the present since we use with a particular time for we use with a duration of time. I hope you found this episode useful, but I highly recommend that you take the quiz I prepared for you. You can find the link in the description of this episode because you will need to check your understanding of the things I talked about today. And taking a short quiz is not stressful. On the contrary, it is very useful to retain the information you have in this episode. So that was all for this episode. This is your host Danny saying thank you very much for listening to another episode from perfect English podcast. I will see you again tomorrow. Thank you very much.

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