At ACET Present is Perfect


The Present Prefect, although it is easy to form, can be the most difficult for students to know when to use.

Is it a past or a present tense? Take a look at the construction have/has + past participle. Have/has refers to the present. We use the Present Perfect when we look at when something happened and how it relates to time.

Ask a native speaker and they would find it difficult to explain the difference between I ate my lunch and I have eaten my lunch. When we speak we make almost instantaneous decisions about which tense to use.

ACET Approach to teaching the Present Perfect. The key to using the Present Perfect is to ask this question: What do I want to focus on – the past or the present? Use the Present Perfect when the focus is the connection between the past and the present. I have broken my leg (it is in a plaster). I have eaten my lunch (I am not hungry).


Watch our for signal words like: since, already, just, yet and for – use Present Perfect
If the time expression is connected to unfinished time (today, this week, this year etc) – use Present Perfect



Been or Gone – Often causes problems has/have gone to .is used when somebody has gone there and hasn’t returned e.g. Where is Sarah? She has gone to the post office.
has been to is used when somebody has visited a place at some time in their lives. e.g. I have been to London, but I’ve never been to Rome.
Present Perfect Joke A waiter brought me a bowl of strange-looking soup. I asked, “What is this?” “It’s bean soup,” she replied. “I don’t care what it has been,” I replied, “What is it now?”

Ask me your Present Perfect questions!

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