Present Perfect Summary



Present Perfect Diagnostic: identify specific points that need review


Quiz 1: beginning – intermediate

Quiz 2: intermediate – advanced

Present Perfect "up to now"

Up to Now, So Far: express duration from past to present

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

tower of pisa

The Tower of Pisa has been under restoration for ten years.

Duration/ Repetition: express continuous vs. reoccurring activity

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

fixing pisa

Engineers have been working to save the Tower of Pisa!

Permanent/Temporary: express long- or short-term activity

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

visitors to pisa

The Tower has stood in this location since 1350.

I have been standing in line to get into the Tower since 10:00 a.m.

Experience "sometime in the past"

Experience: refer to an activity in the unspecified past 

Beginning–Intermediate ESL


Have you ever visited Pisa?
I've never visited Pisa.
I haven't ever visited Pisa.


You haven't ever been to Pisa?
Yes, I haven't.  

Completed / Ongoing: contrast present perfect completed vs. ongoing

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

leaning tower

Engineers have tried to keep the Tower of Pisa from falling.

They have been trying a new method.

Relating Past Experience

Already / Yet: express opinion on whether an activity is timely

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

Waiting for the bus

The bus has already been here. (It came early and left.)

The bus hasn't come yet. (It's late and I am still waiting.)

Just / Recently: relate the past to the present time frame

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

view from pisa tower

Justin has recently graduated and is looking for work.

Future Perfect

Future Perfect: express a future time as the "window" for viewing the completion or progress of a second activity

Beginning–Advanced ESL, Native Speakers

empty board room

By 9:00, we will have finished our meeting.

By 9:15, everyone will have left.

By the time: view relative progress or completion (future perfect)

Int.– Adv. ESL, Native Speaker


By the time I leave work, the sun will be setting. (ongoing)

By the time I leave work, the sun will have set. (completed)


Present Perfect Practices

Implied Meanings:  Interpret meaning with adverbs

Beginning–Intermediate ESL


I have worked as a pilot.

I have been flying to cities around the world.


Pres Perf Sent Prac: relate past events to current situations

Beg.–Adv. ESL


I spilled my drink on the carpet. I cleaned it up afterwards.  (Done. Finished. I'm not thinking about it anymore.)

You have spilled your drink on the carpet.  (Because the spill remains, it is on my mind.)

Sentence Practice: coordinate verb tense with adverbs

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

cold weather

The weather has been cold since the end of November.

The weather was cold in November.

Paragraph Practice: determine tense use from contextual clues

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

tropical island

Mary Morris applied for her passport last month because she will soon be leaving on a trip that she _____ about for many years.

Present Perfect Context: identify present perfect tense in context

Beginning–Intermediate ESL

Pisa construction workers

"When the tower was closed to the public a decade ago, officials said it would be open again in just a few years. The ambitious plan to stop the tower's increasing tilt has taken far longer than expected, but officials say it is succeeding."

Related Pages

Past Perfect: contrast earlier from later events

Intermediate– Advanced ESL, Native Speakers

lunch with friends

After we had ordered from the menu, we began to talk.

First, we ordered from the menu. Then, we began to talk.

We had just ordered from the menu when the electricity went off.


For/ Since: Indicate a quantity of time vs. a specific time

Beg.–Int. ESL, Native Speakers

Thin Cover Girls

We have been coming to this beach for fifteen years.

We have been coming to this beach since July, 1998.

Participles 1: practice using irregular present, past and participle verb forms

Beginning–Intermediate ESL


Jaycee (spinned, span, spun?) _____the ball on his finger last night.

Participles 2: practice using irregular present, past and participle verb forms

Beginning–Intermediate ESL


Jamie (let) _____the ball drop in yesterday's final play.

Reporting Source: report a past activity (not its timing)

Beginning–Intermediate ESL


Where did you get those jeans?
Where have you been (for the past few hours)?


Wow! He did a backflip!
He has done lots of backflips in his career.