Lesson 11 - Present Perfect Tense


In this lesson, you'll learn about the verb have. you'll also learn how to use the past participle of verbs as well as how to use the present perfect tense. The lesson starts with a short English conversation.




Tom and Sarah are talking during lunch break. Tom mentions a new band that he really likes.

Tom: Have you heard any of the songs from the new band Syndica?

Sarah: No. I haven't heard of that band before.

Tom: They've only been around for about a year. They released their first album just last week.

Sarah: Have they played any shows around here?

Tom: They've played at the Commodore theater before. They have another concert planned next month. I've already bought a ticket for it.

Sarah: I'll listen to them tonight, and if I like them, maybe I'll go too.

Eric: It'll be a great show. I haven't been to any concerts lately, so I'm really looking forward to it.

Sarah: I haven't seen any good concerts yet this year either.

Eric: Let me know if you decide to go to the concert. Tom and I, and maybe a few others, are going to have dinner before the show. You're welcome to join us.

Sarah: Thanks. It sounds like fun.

Vocabulary and Phrases

Sound Let me know if you decide to go to the concert.
Sound You're welcome to join us.
Sound It sounds like fun.
Sound Have they played any shows around here?
Sound songs
Sound band
Sound before
Sound during
Sound they released
Sound album
Sound just last week
Sound concert
Sound to mention
Sound to like
Sound to plan
Sound theater
Sound ticket
Sound maybe
Sound to look forward to



The Verb Have

The verb have is one of the most common verbs in English and has several different meanings. Here are some of the more common one:

  • own
  • possess
  • hold
  • include
  • consume or use up
  • state the existence of
  • to be scheduled to attend undertake, or perform and action
  • experience or undergo
  • be afflicted with
  • cause to be

The verb have is also used as a helper verb to create the present perfect tense, which will be covered later in this lesson. The following table shows the present and past tense of the verb have.

Present Tense Past Tense
I have had
you have had
he has had
it has had
she has had
we have had
they have had


I have a laptop.
I have his car keys.
The door has a lock.
I have a brother.
I had a cold.
I have an appointment at 3:00.
I have too much work to do.
We had a great time.

The Past Participle

The past particple is a form of a verb that can be used to turn verbs into adjectives. The past participle can also be used with the auxiliary verb have to create certain verb tenses such as the present perfect tense that will be discussed later in the lesson.

For most verbs, the past participle is the same as the past tense. Some example of past participles that are the same as the past tense are shown in the following table.

Verb Past Tense Past Participle
close closed closed
learn learned learned
have had had
think thought thought
find found found

There are some very common verbs in English that have a unique form of the past participle. Most verbs whose past tense is creating by changing the vowel have a unique form of the past participle. Some common verbs with a unique form of the past participle are shown in the following table.

Verb Past Tense Past Participle
be was been
go went gone
begin began begun
drink drank drunk
ring rang rung
sing sang sung
sink sank sunk
swim swam swum
bite bit bidden
hide hid hidden
drive drove driven
ride rode ridden
rise rose risen
strive strove striven
write wrote written
break broke broken
choose chose chosen
freeze frose frosen
fly flew flown
come came come
do did done
eat ate eaten
find found found
forget forgot forgotten
give gave given
throw threw thrown
know knew known
run ran run
see saw seen
speak spoke spoken
take took taken


a locked door
a broken window
a hidden treasure


Present Perfect Tense

The present perfect tense is created in English by using the past participle of a verb along with the present tense of the verb have.

The following table shows how to create the present perfect tense for the verb walk.

Present Perfect Tense
I have walked
you have walked
he has walked
she has walked
it has walked
we have walked
they have walked

The present perfect tense is used in English to describe:

  1. an action that started in the past and continues into the present
  2. an action that started in the past and just finished
  3. a repeated series of actions that have finished in the past, but are likely to happen again in the future
  4. a change that has happened over an extended amount of time.

For example:

I've gone to see the ocean.
I have seen the ocean.
I have seen the ocean many times.
I have seen the ocean, but I can't remember when.
She has grown since the last time I saw her.

Never use the present perfect tense with with words such as today, yesterday, days of the week, or other words that indicate a specific time. For a single action that happened at a specific time in the past, the simple past tense needs to be used. For example:

I saw the ocean yesterday.
I saw the ocean on Monday.
I saw the ocean in June.
I saw the ocean on our vacation.


I have been to Spain.
She has gotten better at math.
I have learned another language.
They have done that already.
We have seen the movie.
He has written a book.
The book has been read by many people.


Contractions are often used with pronouns and have.


I've done that too many times.
You've seen it already.
She's taken that course before.
He's watched the show five times already.

Negative Statements with the Present Perfect

The following table shows the forms of the present perfect tense that are used to make a negative statement.

Negative Form
I haven't walked
you haven't walked
he hasn't walked
she hasn't walked
it hasn't walked
we haven't walked
they haven't walked

You can also create a negative statement by using the adverb never after the verb have.


It hasn't happened before.
I haven't been there.
We've never been there.
I have never done that.

Question Form of the Present Perfect

To make a questions with the present perfect tense, the noun or pronoun follows the auxiliary verb have.

Question Form
Have I walked?
Have you walked?
Has he walked?
Has she walked?
Has it walked?
Have we walked?
Have they walked?


Have you ever seen a bear?
Has the car ever worked?
Have the books been read yet?
Have you thought about it?
Has it happened before?
Have you seen it already?
Where have you been?


Here are some flashcards to help you learn the present perfect tense of some common English verbs.


In the quiz for this lesson, you'll practice writing sentences using the present perfect tense. You can take the quiz as many times as you like. Your highest score will be saved.

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