There are different ways to explain when we use the present perfect tense. We can use it when an action is finished but the time is not finished. For example, «I have played tennis this week». In this example we we are not playing tennis now, but this week is still in progress, so we use the present perfect. Another example of this is to say «We have eaten a sandwich today». Again, we are not eating a sandwich now, but today is not finished, so we use the present perfect tense.
We can also explain the present perfect by saying that we use it when we are thinking about the time before and up to now. For example, «They have been in the classroom for an hour». In this example we understand that they came into the room one hour ago and they are still in the room now. Another example of this is to say «I have lived here for two months». This means that I started living here two months ago and I am still living here now.
There are three common uses of the present perfect tense and they are: to talk about our experiences; to talk about the duration of an action before and up to now; and to talk about the result now of a past action.
. Let’s take a look at how we talk about our experiences.If I say «I have eaten Chinese food» it means that I have the experience of eating Chinese food. At some point in my life I ate Chinese food. If a person says «I have been to Barcelona» it means that they have the experience of being in Barcelona because they visited it at some point in the past.
. When we want to talk about the duration of an action before and up to now we also use the present perfect. For example, «They have listened to the radio for an hour». This means that they started listening to the radio an hour ago and they are still listening to it now. If I say «I have studied for a week» it means that I started studying a week ago and I am still studying now.
. The third use of the present perfect is when we talk about the result now of a past action. For example, «I have eaten too much food». This means that I ate too much food in the past and consequently I feel bad now. The result now is that I feel bad but the action happened in the past. Another example of this use is to say «All the students have come to the lesson». In this example it shows you that the students came to the lesson, which is the action that happened in the past and the result now is that the class is full.
Now that you know more about the present perfect tense you should practise it as much as possible.
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