The Present Perfect Tense (#2), by Dennis Oliver

The Present Perfect Tense #2

 The present perfect tense is very common in English.Its form is easy to understand, but its uses are not soeasy--because there are several quite different ones.

Present Perfect Tense: Use (#1)

The most common use of the present tense is the one that
most students of English already know: showing an action
that began in the past and that is still happening now.

This use of the present perfect tense is very common with
since and for--which show when the action or situation
began (since) or the length of the action or situation (for).

Examples:

I have lived in Phoenix since August, 1990.
I have lived in Phoenix for almost 11 years.
(I live in Phoenix now. I moved here in August, 1990.)

They have been here for two days.
They have been here since April 15th.
(They're here now. They came here two days ago.)

He has had his new car since last Tuesday.
He has had his new car for exactly one week.
(He has a new car. He bought it last Tuesday.)

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Special Notes:

 1. Time expressions with since show whenthe situation or action began; specificpast times are used. "Since August, 1990"means 'since a specific time in August, 1990'(which is past) and "since last Tuesday"means 'since a specific time last Tuesday'(which is also past). 2. Time expressions with for show the lengthof the situation or action--or how long theaction or situation continued. These timeexpressions show periods of time. Use forwith periods of time, not with specific times: not this: I have lived in Phoenix *sincenine years. but this: I have lived in Phoenix for nine years. not this: They have been here *since two days. but this: They have been here for two days. 3. Periods of time can be shown with orwithout for: I've lived in Phoenix for nine years. /I've lived in Phoenix nine years. They've been here for two days. /They've been here two days. He's had his car for exactly one week. /He's had his car exactly one week. 4. Some verbs are "one time" verbs: theycannot usually be used to show an actionor situation that continued: not this: I have *moved to Phoenixfor 10 years. but this: I have lived in Phoenix for 10 years. not this: He has bought his new carsince last Tuesday. but this: He has had (or owned) his new carsince last Tuesday. In the examples above, move and buy are"one time" verbs: the action or situation thatthey describe did not continue. In the situationsabove, the "one time" verbs should be pasttense, not present perfect tense. Also, in orderto show the action that continued, a differentverb is needed.

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