Sophie is working in Dubai but Amy was hoping she may be able to ask her a favour.

We use the present perfect simple (have/has + past participle) or present perfect continuous (have/has + been + -ing) to talk about a state or an activity that has a link to the present.

Oh, the present perfect! It’s quite tricky!

Well, no, it’s quite logical, but it does have different uses. We often use present perfect for talking about something which happened in the past which is important now.

My Chinese teacher has given me some homework. (= I have the homework to do now.)
I’ve forgotten. (= I can’t remember now.)
She’s broken her leg. (= Her leg is still broken now.)

We also use present perfect with just for talking about a recent action.

Oliver’s just made a cake.

So that’s important now because I could have some cake?

Yes, that could be the reason. But with just for recent actions we usually use present perfect, anyway.

OK, but why can’t I say ‘Ollie’s been making a cake’?

You could, but then the focus would be more on the action rather than the result. Maybe you are explaining why the kitchen is in a mess. We use the present perfect simple more when there is a result in the present (like the cake) and the present perfect continuous more when the action is important.

Umm, OK. So you would say ‘She’s been travelling a lot recently.’

Exactly. Because we’re more interested in the action than the result.

Is the present perfect only used for recent events?

No, not at all. We also use it for life experiences which happened at any time in the past. The person’s life, which continues in the present, is the link to the present.

She’s won an award.
Sophie has been to Berlin before.

So, she could have been to Berlin last month or ten years ago?

Exactly, we don’t know when and it isn’t important. If you wanted to say when, you would have to use the past simple: Sophie went to Berlin ten years ago.

We also use the present perfect for actions or states that are unfinished.

Your mum’s been writing her blog for years now, hasn’t she?

She is still writing the blog now, so the action isn’t complete.

Could I say ‘She’s written her blog for years’?

No. We usually use the present perfect continuous for talking about the length of time something goes on for, with phrases like for years, for a long time, etc.

What about using still, already and yet?

We use already to talk about something which has been done, and usually this is surprising to the speaker.

Wow, that was quick! You’ve finished your homework already.

Yet is mainly used in questions and negatives to talk about something which hasn’t happened, but which you thought would happen in the past and you expect to happen in the future.

I haven’t had time yet.
Have you seen
her new blog yet?

We use still to talk about something which is going on longer than you expect.

They’ve been doing things with that computer for ages, but they still haven’t fixed it.

OK, I feel like I’ve been understanding more about the present perfect today.

Oh, sorry, you can’t say ‘I’ve been understanding’. Do you remember when we looked at the present continuous? There are certain verbs, called state verbs, which we don’t usually use in the continuous form – verbs for talking about emotions, thinking, existing, appearing, possession and the senses.

Oh, yes. You gave me a list of them.

That’s right, they’re in the Grammar Snack on the present continuous.

Right, I’ll look at them again. Well, we’ve been talking for ages

For a few minutes!

Yes, but I’ve learned a lot.

Excellent – you used present perfect continuous with a length of time and present perfect simple with a result!

 

Discussion

What have you been doing today?

Comments

rebbit2009's picture
15x
18x
rebbit2009 16 August, 2022 - 08:54

Now it is morning so I didn't do much things, but I've already had a breakfast, read the book tnd I've also learned new English grammar

up
0 users have voted.
strawberry123_'s picture
20x
37x
strawberry123_ 5 July, 2022 - 08:23

It`s only morning now, so I hadn`t done a lot of things yet. But I`ve already hadd a breakfast, gone to bathroom, watched TV and started studying English

up
1 user has voted.
v01shebnik's picture
6x
4x
v01shebnik 20 February, 2022 - 17:10

Dear students.
Today i've cooked the cake. It's beautiful.
I've walked with my lion and black panther.
We played airsoft with them.
Goodbye)

up
0 users have voted.
Kati's picture
0x
1x
Kati 29 December, 2021 - 18:05

Hi! I'm wondering whether the present perfect is always used for finished actions. If I say
'I have studied English since 2017' does it mean I don't study it anymore? thank you in advance!

up
0 users have voted.
editor_rachael's picture
6x
9x
editor_rachael 31 December, 2021 - 15:34

Hi Kati,

 

We usually use the present perfect simple for finished actions and the present perfect continuous for unfinished actions that can continue. The present perfect simple usually focuses on the result and the present perfect continuous usually focuses on the action. For example:

 

I've made a cake. = It's finished, here is the cake.

I've been making a cake. = The cake may or may not be finished.

 

But with some verbs, like live, work and study, when we use them with for and since there is no real difference. For example:

 

I've studied French. = at some point in the past, but now I probably don't

I've been studying French. = recently, probably I'm still studying

I've studied French for ten years. OR I've been studying French for ten years. = I'm still studying now.

 

Hope that helps!

 

Rachael
LearnEnglish Teens team

up
1 user has voted.
Leticiadv1405's picture
3x
6x
Leticiadv1405 19 October, 2021 - 00:47

The activity is very creative and helps us to facilitate the structure of the sentences. I think it is very good, it is not that complicated to perform and it is very useful to obtain new knowledge.
5°A, TLOG

up
1 user has voted.
fernasilv18's picture
7x
6x
fernasilv18 18 October, 2021 - 20:53

The way to learn is easier and more fun with the activities of the platform, the explanation of the topics is very complete.
5A T-LOG

up
1 user has voted.
cinthia_martinez's picture
1x
1x
cinthia_martinez 18 October, 2021 - 14:33

Cinthia Martínez TLOG-AM
Exercises help a lot to practice vocabulary. In addition to being understandable.

up
1 user has voted.
Graceherrera's picture
6x
5x
Graceherrera 18 October, 2021 - 05:35

The activities are very interesting since they give you support to understand better, I had a lot of fun in addition to continuing to learn, 5A T-LOG

up
1 user has voted.
jesica_tomas's picture
6x
6x
jesica_tomas 13 October, 2021 - 04:50

It was quite an interesting topic, the games were fun, very interactive, I had a lot of fun 5 "A" T-LOG

up
0 users have voted.
AnaMoreno's picture
0x
1x
AnaMoreno 13 October, 2021 - 04:01

Today I have learned better the structure of the present perfect: simple and continuous.
The grammar that I practiced with the exercises was easy for me.
5A-TPGA

up
0 users have voted.
FaniZuA's picture
0x
2x
FaniZuA 12 October, 2021 - 23:58

The activities aren't complicated and you learn a lot
I've made homework this afternoon
Estefania 5A PGA

up
0 users have voted.
Alondra_Guevara's picture
0x
1x
Alondra_Guevara 12 October, 2021 - 23:48

I found the present perfect games super fun since I understood them very well and they were easy.

5A-TLOG

up
0 users have voted.
angela_miranda's picture
0x
1x
angela_miranda 12 October, 2021 - 23:47

It was a super easy activity for me, I liked the development of this and how I am learning the subject little by little. Without more to say, great section of Present Perfect Simple

up
0 users have voted.
GUADALUPESIXTOS's picture
5x
9x
GUADALUPESIXTOS 12 October, 2021 - 19:46

The activity was simple and easy to understand
The subject became clearer and more complete with the exercise I did

up
1 user has voted.
Mamou1's picture
5x
0x
Mamou1 27 July, 2021 - 11:30

Well it's 11:25 now so i did not do many thing yet just since 10 am I've been doing english exercice. of course I ate my breakfast. but later AT 12am precisely I'm going to read a book and later in the day do some sport with some freinds and wach movies .

up
0 users have voted.
Jocelynfajardoolvera's picture
0x
1x
Jocelynfajardoolvera 12 October, 2021 - 23:59

work was easy, I learned many things with the activities I liked knowing about Present perfect
5A- TPGA

up
0 users have voted.
JamesMR's picture
0x
0x
JamesMR 1 June, 2021 - 15:06

Please help. I read in my text book that we use the continuous when we emphasise the duration, but my book also uses ‘I had wanted to read the book for a while’ as an example of past perfect simple. Why is while used?

up
0 users have voted.
JoModerator's picture
8x
11x
JoModerator 2 June, 2021 - 10:46

Hi JamesMR,

That's a good question!

Have a look at this grammar explanation of the past perfect:

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/english-grammar-reference/past-perfect

It says 'We do not normally use the past perfect continuous with stative verbs. We use the past perfect simple instead'

Example: Up until that moment, I'd never believed (NOT been believing) in astrology.

Your grammar book is using the verb 'want' as a stative verb. You can read more about stative verbs here:

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/grammar/intermediate-to-upper-intermediate/stative-verbs

 

I hope that helps!

Best wishes

Jo (LearnEnglish Teens team)

up
0 users have voted.
DALIADEJESUS's picture
0x
1x
DALIADEJESUS 12 October, 2021 - 22:50

With this lesson I have learned even more about the present perfect simple and continuous and I can now make sentences even more fluent.

up
0 users have voted.
Cfvdv's picture
8x
0x
Cfvdv 6 April, 2021 - 17:08

Today I have been doing a walk around my house, for exercise. Then I came back home and now i´m doing my English.

up
0 users have voted.
Didik's picture
8x
0x
Didik 1 April, 2021 - 17:11

Today I walkd with my 2 brothers, then I played some games in my computer, and now I am doing english.

up
1 user has voted.
Arivelde's picture
9x
0x
Arivelde 1 April, 2021 - 01:43

Today I haven't done many things, I've just read a little bit, did some exercises with my brothers, and wached some Fottball games in the television, and for the past few minutes I've been doing some english.

up
3 users have voted.
zagrybast's picture
1x
0x
zagrybast 7 August, 2020 - 10:40

Dear Jonathan! Can you help me please? I don’t understand present perfect. I don’t know when I need use Simple and when continuous. I read the rules under video, but I can’t understand why “We have known|'ve known (know) (but “have been knowing”) each other for years.“ ?

up
0 users have voted.
JoModerator's picture
8x
11x
JoModerator 8 August, 2020 - 08:27

Hi zagrybast,

Jonathon isn't here today, so I'm going to answer your question...

There is a group of verbs which are called state verbs which we use for states (not actions) and we don't usually use these in the continuous form.
 
want - need - like - love - hate - prefer - believe - think - know - realise - understand - recognise - suppose - be - exist - appear - look - seem - belong - have (for possession) -  own - feel - smell - taste
 
That's why we say 'we've known each other for years' and not 'we have been knowing each other for years'.
 
If you want to read more about the present perfect continuous, you could have a look at this page from Cambridge dictionary:
 
 
I hope that helps!
 
Best wishes
Jo (LearnEnglish Teens team)
up
1 user has voted.

Pages