Grammar-QuizzesVerb PhrasesVerb GroupsPresent Perfect › Up to now

Present Perfect: Up to Now

Express duration from past to present

Tower of Pisa
 

Past vs. Present Perfect "up to now"

PAST

A verb in the past tense expresses that an activity, event or state began and ended in the past. Adverbs such as last year, a year ago and in 2017 make clear that the activity is pinned to a time in the past.  See Past Adverbs.

COMPLETED IN PAST

past time line

Construction on the Tower of Pisa started in 1173.

Builders added a third story in 1185. Then, it began to lean.

It leaned 5.5º before the renovation. It leaned only 3.99º after the renovation. 

The soil foundation failed under the tower in 1185.

Officials closed the tower during the 1990s.

The tower was reopened in 2001.

PRESENT PERFECT  "UP TO NOW"

A verb in the present perfect may express that an activity began in the past and continued up to the present (and may extend into the future.) Adverbs so far, up to now and to date make clear this past-to-present timing.

FROM PAST TO PRESENT MOMENT

From past to present

The Tower of Pisa has leaned to the south since its third story was added in 1178.  It has continued to lean up to now.

Its lean has remained unchanged up to now.

Engineers have gradually reduced the lean by 14 centimeters so far.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa has not leaned any farther so far.

The project has received $30,000,000 to date.

 

fail (V) – lose strength, become weak

lean (V) – to be at an angle that is not upright at 90º;   lean (N) the difference in degrees from the upright 90º angle.

foundation (N) – the base upon which something sits

"The Leaning Tower of Pisa." towerofpisa.org/tower-of-pisa-historical-facts/

 

 

 

 

Duration vs. Completion

Express activities as processes or accomplishments

 

 

Process (duration) vs. Accomplishment (completion) 

PROCESS—HAVING DURATION

A process is a general activity, occurring gradually over a period of time without a specified end time. An adverb such as for a month is used for duration. When no adverb is used, we understand the timing as the indefinite past, for example, an experience sometime in the past.

DURATION (DEFINITE PERIOD OF TIME)

We have worked for a year.  (continuously )

We have been working for a year.  (repetitively)

 

We have worked since 2001.  (continuously)

We have been working since June.  (repetitively)

GENERAL ACTIVITY (INDEFINITE TIME)

We have worked. (experience) 

ACCOMPLISHMENT—DIRECTED TOWARD COMPLETION

An accomplishment is a detail activity directed toward an end, a completion time. An accomplishment often includes an object (a thing acted upon), a distance, destination or goal.  Adverbs such as up to now, so far, in a month delimit the timing.                                                      

PARTIAL ACCOMPLISHMENT   ASSESSMENT POINT = NOW

We have moved the tower 14 cm. up to now. (distance)

We have moved the tower 2º upright so far. (destination)

We have improved the tower's lean a little so far. (quantity)

ACCOMPLISHMENTS     ENDPOINT = [SPECIFIED]

We have moved the tower 14 cm. in six months. (distance)

We have have moved the tower 2º upright in six months. (destination)

We have improved the tower's lean a little in six months. (quantity)

ACHIEVEMENTS   ENDPOINT = [NOT SPECIFIED]

We have uprighted the tower¹.  (achievement)

 

Accomplishments can often be restated as: It took us X time to do something with "something" as the goal. It took four years to build the bridge. ⇒ They completed the Golden Gate Bridge in four years. 

¹uprighting the tower – the engineers did not actually upright the tower to a perfect 90º. This would have destroyed some of this landmark's attraction. See "Historical Facts." The Leaning Tower of Pisa. towerofpisa.org/tower-of-pisa-historical-facts/

atelic – a verb or verb phrase that presents an action or event as being incomplete.  The tower leans.  (The verb can be used with a time-span adverbial such as "for a month", but not with a time-frame adverbial such as "within a year".) → The tower has leaned for several years. *The tower has leaned within a year.

telic – a verb or verb phrase that presents an action or event as being complete. The verb can be used with a time-frame adverbial such as "in a month", but not with a time-span adverbial such as "for a month") → The foundation has sunk in the last 200 years. *The foundation has sunk for 200 years.

See and Verb Meaning & Timing and Verbs of Short and Long Duration.

 

 

 

 

Present Perfect Adverbs (time expressions)

Specify the timing of an action or activity

tourists
 

 

Adverbs for Present Perfect Tense

DEFINITE TIMING  "HAPPENING BEFORE AND UP TO NOW"

Adverbial expressions with definite timing are used when actions have starting times and ending times relative to the current moment (now). Compare (1) I have just walked to class this morning. The period ended when I arrived at class. (done, perfective) to (2) I have been walking to class this morning. The period will end when I arrive at class. (may be ongoing, imperfective)

BOTH PROG. NONPROGRESSIVE BOTH PROG. & NONPROGRESSIVE

He has just visited Pisa.

He has just been visiting Pisa.

He has visited Pisa today.

He has been visiting Pisa today

A TIME PERIOD RELATIVE TO NOW A STARTING TIME UP TO NOW

just (just, recently, [neg.] lately)

I have just walked a mile.

I have just been walking a mile.

today¹ / tonight (a time starting from within this time to current time) 

 

so far(to date, up to now, until now)

I have read 40 pages so far.

*I have been reading 40 pages so far.

this month¹  (a time starting from within this time to current tim:morning, evening, week, semester, this spring, year, decade, century)

already (earlier than expected)

I have walked 10 minutes already.

I have been walking 10 minutes already.

since / ever since(from this time to current time: 6:00 AM, noon, midnight, this morning, May 2012; ever since I met you)

yet (later than expected)

I haven't walked 10 minutes yet.

*I haven't been walking 10 minutes yet.

from last Monday until now(1 PM until now)

 

 

 

 

INDEFINITE TIMING "HAPPENING SOMETIME"

Adverbial expressions with indefinite timing are used when activities or states happen "sometime", not related to the current moment (now). The precise time is not important. The focus is on the activity or state.  These adverbs express duration (a period of time) or repetition (the interval of occurrence). They are mostly imperfective (may extend in the future).

MOSTLY PROGRESSIVE BOTH PROG. & NONPROGRESSIVE

He has visited Pisa recently.

He has been visiting temporarily.

He has often given tours.

~He has often been giving tours.

DURATION— PERIOD REPETITION — INTERVAL

temporarily(continuously, briefly, momentarily) [imperfective, ongoing]

⇒ Mostly progressive.

repeatedly(constantly, continuously, again and again, perpetually, eternally)

⇒ Switch to "keep" with progressive.³

for a moment (ten minutes, a week, a month, for a while², a little while, a day,  forever)  ⇒ Often present perfect.

always (routinely, customarily, usually, in general, normally, often, sometimes, hardly ever, never) 

during the week (month, year, etc.)

⇒ Mostly nonprogressive.

ever  (requesting any experience: before) 

from Monday to Tuesday(1 PM to 2 PM, morning to night)

all my life

at night (noon, midnight, sunset)

in spring (winter, summer, June, July)

while it is warm(a relative period of time: when, if, whenever, before, after)  before sunrise  (after)

on Mondays (Tuesday, Sundays, etc.)

most days (nights, weekends, etc.)

over the past year (weeks, decades, centuries)

throughout the year (weeks, decades, centuries)

every / each / every other  (hour, day, night, week, month, year, May, spring)

 

¹ time expressions such as like today or this month include time that is past, present and future. With the present tense, we understand the time to be present, current, now.

² for a while (PP) – can be understood in two ways: (1) having some amount of duration, or (2) being very temporary

³ keep + verb+ing – Repetition can be expressed by using the "keep" (I keep walking.  He kept smiling.)  The progressive with "repeatedly" (*I am walking to class repeatedly. )sounds awkward.

Also see Ever v. Never, Already v. Yet., Adverbs of Frequency, For v Since.

"Leaning Tower of Pisa–Exterior." By Jordiferrer. Wikimedia, 7 Aug. 2016. Licensed under CC BY-SA4.0 International.

 

 

 

 

Present Perfect

Word Order

 

 

Word Order

AUXILIARY VERB SUBJECT AUXILIARY PAST PARTICIPLE ADVERB PHRASE
STATEMENT         
 

The tower

has

stood

for a long time.

 

The engineers

have

worked

for several years.

QUESTION   ADVERB    

Has 

the tower

 

stood   

for a long time?

Have

the engineers

ever 

worked   

there?

NEGATIVE        

 

The tower

hasn't

stood   

for a long time.

 

The engineers

haven't

worked   

for several years.

WITH AN ADVERB        
 

The tower

has  always

stood   

there.

 

The engineers

have  frequently

worked   

there.

 

*A tag question can also occur with a negative main sentence and a positive final question: The tower hasn't stood there for long, has it? (doubtful question)  

Related pages: Auxiliary Verbs, Past Participle Forms.

 

 

 

 

Perfect Forms

Verb Groups—auxiliary and verb forms

 

 

Present perfect, progressive, modal and passive

PRESENT PERFECT PRESENT PERFECT PROGRESSIVE

Auxiliary 1 has/have, had

Past Participle raised

Auxiliary 1 has/have, had

Auxiliary 2 been

Gerund-Participle raising

PRESENT PRESENT

Engineers haveraised the tower.

Engineers have been raising the tower.

PAST PAST

Engineers had stabilized the foundation (before they raised the tower)

Engineers had been stabilizing the foundation (before they raised the tower.)

   

 

 

 
MODAL  (opinion) PRESENT PERFECT  PASSIVE

Auxiliary 1  ⇒ will, would, may, might, can, could, shall, should

Auxiliary 2 have

Past Participleraised

Auxiliary 1   has/have, had

Auxiliary 2 been

Past Participleraised

PRESENT PRESENT

Engineers may have fixed his lean.

Engineers might have fixed it.

The tower's lean has been fixed (by the engineers.)

FUTURE PERFECT PAST

Engineers will have raised the tower by the end of the year. (future perfect)

The tower's foundation had been stabilized before the tower's lean was fixed.

HYPOTHETICAL  

Engineers would have made the tower perfectly straight if it hadn't become famous for being the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

 

Also see modals: Will / Will have | Could / Could have | Should / Should have | Must / Must have  and Conditionals

Verb Forms: Participle Forms

foundation (N) – ground on which something sits

stabilize (V) – make stable, firm

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

Errors and Solutions

ERROR

Where did you go on vacation?

"We have been to the beach this summer. (See Pop-Q "Source".)

We have been to the beach during the summer.   (See During v. In.)

*The Leaning Tower of Pisa has been closed during the last decade.

   Present perfect is used with "during" under special conditions.

*I haven't seen my family for six months ago(After "for" use a quantity of time.)

* I went there since two months(After "since" use an exact date.)

SOLUTION

We went to the beach this summer.  (completed)

We have been to the beach recently. (completed)

We have been vacationing at the beach this summer. (ongoing)

(If we are still at the beach, use present perfect progressive with "this summer". If we are talking about a recently completed trip, use past tense, or use present perfect with the adverb "recently".) 

The Leaning Tower of Pisa has been closed for a decade.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa was closed during the 1990s / during the summer.

I haven't seen my family for six months. (omit "ago")
I saw my family six months ago.  (Use past tense with "ago".)

I've been going there for two months. (ongoing)
I went there for two months. (completed)

 

 

Image

"Leaning Tower of Pisa–Exterior." By Jordiferrer. Wikimedia, 7 Aug. 2016. Licensed under CC BY-SA4.0 International.

 

 

 

 

► Show Grammar Notes and Works Cited ▼ Hide Grammar Notes

Grammar Notes (Advanced)

Traditional and Linguistic Description

 

 

Traditional / ESL and Linguistic Descriptions

TRADITIONAL DESCRIPTION

"The present perfect is often used with since and for to talk about situations that began in the past and continue up to now. UUEG 3-1

  • Mrs. Olin has been a teacher since 2002. [since + a specific point in time (e.g., 2002, last May nine o'clock)]
  • She has been in this city for a year. [for + a length of time (e.g., two months, three years)]

455.6 repetition up to now: I've commuted to work by bus this week.…  We can use the present perfect to say that something has happened several times up to the present.

455.7 continuation up to ow: I've known her for years.  We use the present perfect if we are thing about the past and present together.

456.7 today, this week, etc.: I haven't seen her this week  We prefer the present perfect if we are thinking of the whole period up to now.

458.8 Present Perfect (4): progressive  (or 'continuous')  In some cases, we can also use the simple present perfect to talk about actions and situations continuing up to the present:

  • How long have you been working with her?  [repetition, progressive]
  • How long have you known her? [continuous]

 

(Swan 455 - 458)

LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION

"Grammars commonly distinguish four major uses of the present perfect: the continuative, the experiential (or 'existential') perfect, the resultative perfect, and the perfect of recent past."  (Huddleston  3 §5.3.2)

 

 

The continuative expresses a situation that began before the current time and continues up to the present.  It allows "atelic situations" (ones without a terminal point.)  The tense may be reinforced by time adjuncts, such as: for, since, ever since, up to now, etc.

  • He has lived in San Francisco ever since he married. [continuative] (imperfect aspectuality: ongoing)
  • He has lived in San Francisco. [non-continuative]  (an indefinite time in the past – perfect aspectuality: completed)

(Huddleston 3 §5.2)

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

  • Azar, Betty Schrampfer, and Stacy A. Hagen. Understanding and Using English Grammar. 4th ed., Pearson Education, 2009.
  • Huddleston, Rodney D., and Geoffrey K. Pullum. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge UP, 2002.
  • "Leaning Tower of Pisa Timeline." Preceden, 2018.
  • "The Leaning Tower of Pisa." By Saffron Blaze, Wikimedia, 10 Aug 2015. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
  • Payne, Thomas Edward. Understanding English Grammar: A Linguistic Introduction. Cambridge UP, 2011.
  • "Tower of Pisa Historical Facts." Leaning Tower of Pisa, 2016. towerofpisa.org/tower-of-pisa-historical-facts.
  • Swan, Michael. Practical English Usage. 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2005.
  • "Washington Monument." National Park Service, nps.gov/wamo/index.htm.

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Pisa Perspective

The site of the Tower of Pisa
 

 

 

Read for Errors

The Tower of Pisa was the center of attention since a long time ago. For the people of Pisa, the tower has been a slightly imperfect bell tower to their cathedral.  For the Germans during World War II, the tower have been an observation tower and a landmark that deserved protection from bombing.

For architects, the tower has been an example of excellent 11th century design, which unfortunately was placed on a bad foundation. For tourists, the tower has been a reminder that people make mistakes and that some are very beautiful!  For me, this is a reminder that imperfection is more interesting than perfection.

architect (N) – a person who designs the structure of a building

bombing (N) – dropping of explosive missiles, destruction

center US-Eng / centre Br-Eng

deserve (V) – have value, merit, be worthy

foundation  (N) – the natural or prepared ground or base on which a structure rests.

landmark (N) – a well-known structure (e.g., the Eiffel Tower)

perfection (N) – the state or quality of being perfect, ideal, excellent

protection (N) – safe-keeping

slightly (Adj) – a little

 

 

 

 

Decide whether the tense use is correct or incorrect

  1. Select your response correct or incorrect
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the check button to the left of the check-all button at the bottom.

 

1.
The Tower of Pisa was the center of attention since a long time ago.

   

2.
For the people of Pisa, the tower has been a slightly imperfect bell tower to their cathedral.

   

3.
For the Germans during World War II, the tower have been an observation tower and a landmark that deserved protection from bombing.

   

4.
For architects over the past 600 years, the tower is an example of excellent 11th century design, which unfortunately was placed on a bad foundation.

   

5.
For tourists today, the tower has been a reminder that people make mistakes and that some are very beautiful!

   

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

The Tower's Past, Present and Future

 

 

Complete the sentence.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check 6-15" button at the bottom, or click the "Check" button to the left  as you go.

 

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

11.

12.
 

 (the lean – the amount that the tower moves from its perpendicular position)

13.

14.

15.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Washington Monument Closed

 

 

the Washington Monument
 

 

Read for Errors

On Tuesday, August 23, 2011, an earthquake has damaged the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The obelisk, which was under construction from 1848 to 1885, has stood as a memorial to George Washington since a 125 years.

The monument honoring the founding father, George Washington, has been a popular attraction with spectacular views of the Capitol, the White House and the Lincoln Memorial.

The National Park Service staff has maintained the tower since 1966 with occasional closures for maintenance and security.

After the earthquake, park inspectors have found cracks inside and outside of the stone structure.

The National Park Service has closed the monument temporarily until it can be repaired. 

Workers have been repairing cracks and strengthening the structure.

The work is lasted longer than expected.  The reopening date is unknown.

Businessman David Rubenstein has offered $7.5 million to match the government's $7.5 million to cover the cost of repairing the damage from the earthquake.

The public has been looking forward to the reopening of this monument on the Washington Mall.

earthquake (N) – an event in nature in which the ground moves and shakes

 

obelisk – elongated pyramid-shaped monument

 

 

 

 

Edit for Errors

  1. Edit the sentence(s) in the text box.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the check buttons.

 

16.
On Tuesday, August 23, 2011, an earthquake has damaged the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.


17.
The obelisk, which was under construction from 1848 to 1885, has stood as a memorial to George Washington since a 125 years.


18.
The monument honoring the founding father, George Washington, has been a popular attraction with spectacular views of the Capitol, the White House and the Lincoln Memorial.


19.
The National Park Service staff has maintained the tower since 1966 with occasional closures for maintenance and security.


20.
After the earthquake, park inspectors have found cracks inside and outside of the stone structure.


21.
The National Park Service has closed the monument temporarily until it can be repaired. 


22.
Workers have been repairing cracks and strengthening the structure.


23.
The work is lasted longer than expected. The reopening date is unknown.


24.
Businessman David Rubenstein has offered $7.5 million to match the government's $7.5 million to cover the cost of repairing the damage from the earthquake.


25.
The public has been looking forward to the reopening of this monument on the Washington Mall.


 

The Washington Monument. The National Park Service 08 Jun 2013. Web. 01 Jul 2013 <nps.gov/wamo/historyculture/index.htm>.