Unit 13. Present perfect. I have done. Part one.


Tom: Have you heard from George? Ann: No, he hasn’t written to me lately.

“He has lost his key” means that he lost it a short time ago and he still doesn’t have it.

This is the present perfect (simple) tense:

I/we/they/you have (= I’ve, etc.) lost
he/she has (= he’s, etc.) lost

I (etc.) haven’t lost
he/she hasn’t lost

have you (etc.) lost
has he/she lost

We form the present perfect with have/has + the past participle. The past participle often ends in -ed (opened, decided), but many important verbs are irregular (lost, written, done, etc.). See Appendix 2.

When we use the present perfect, there is a connection with the present:

  • I’ve lost my key. (= I don’t have it now.)

  • Jim has gone to Canada. (= He is in Canada or on his way there now.)

    We often use the present perfect to give new information or to announce a recent happening:

  • I’ve lost my key. Can you help me look for it?

  • Did you hear about Jim? He’s gone to Canada. You can use the present perfect with just (= a short time ago):

  • “Would you like something to eat?” “No, thanks. I’ve just had lunch.”

  • Hello, have you just arrived?

    Use the present perfect with already to say something has happened sooner than expected:

  • “Don’t forget to mail the letter.” “I’ve already mailed it.”

  • ”When is Tom going to start his new job?” “He has already started.” Note that you can also use the simple past (I did /I lost, etc.) in the above situations.

  • I lost my key. Can you help me look for it?

  • “Would you like something to eat?” “No thanks. I just had lunch.”

  • “Don’t forget to mail the letter.” “I already mailed it.”

    Study the difference between gone to and been to:

  • Beth is on vacation. She has gone to Italy. (= She is there now or she is on her way there.)

  • Tom is back from his vacation. He has been to Italy. (= He was there, but now he has come back.)

    (See also Unit 114.)

    For the present perfect see also Units 1419.

    For the present perfect and simple past see Units 1920.

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