The present perfect is used to express a past event that has happened at an unspecified time where the exact time is not know and also is not necessarily completed. The unspecific expressions such as: ever, never, once, many times, several times, before, so far, already, yet, etc. are commonly used for in the Present Perfect tense
Situations where Present Perfect tense are used
You can use the Present Perfect to describe your experience. It is like saying, “I have the experience of…” You can also use this tense to say that you have never had a certain experience. The Present Perfect is NOT used to describe a specific event.
- I have been to Singapore.
- I have been toEngland three times.
- I have never been toSingapore..
- She has never traveled by train alone.
- Alicehas studied two foreign languages.
2) Change Over Time
We often use the Present Perfect to talk about change that has happened over a period of time.
- You have grown taller since the last time I saw you.
- The government has become more interested in Science and Maths education.
- Japanese has become one of the most popular courses at the university since the Asian studies program was established.
- My English has really improved since I moved toEngland.
We often use the Present Perfect to list the accomplishments of individuals and humanity. You cannot mention a specific time.
- Man has walked on the Moon.
- Our son has learned how to read.
- Doctors have cured many deadly diseases.
- Scientists have split the atom.
4) An Uncompleted Action You Are Expecting
We often use the Present Perfect to say that an action which we expected has not happened. Using the Present Perfect suggests that we are still waiting for the action to happen.
- Steven has not finished his homework yet.
- Alicehasn’t mastered Japanese so she can’t communicate with you.
- Bill has still not arrived.
- The rain hasn’t stopped.
5) Multiple Actions at Different Times
We use the Present Perfect Tense to talk about several different actions which have occurred in the past at different times. Present Perfect Tense suggests the process is not complete and more actions are possible.
- I have had four quizzes and five tests so far this semester.
- We have had many minor problems while working on this project.
- She has talked to several specialists about her problem, but nobody knows why she is sick.
You CANNOT use the Present Perfect with specific time expressions such as: yesterday, one year ago, last week, when I was a child, when I lived inJapan, at that moment, that day, one day, etc.