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The Present Perfect Tense (#5), by Dennis Oliver

 

The Present Perfect Tense #5:
One More Use for Present Perfect

 

One common use for the present perfect tense is in
showing actions or situations that began in the past and
continued until now. Another is in showing repeated
actions or situations that happened before now and that
may be repeated. Another important use for present
perfect is in showing actions or situations that happened
at an unspecified time in the past and that are important

or somehow connected (topically) to now.

Examples:

I've seen that movie.

He's visited Egypt.

She's bought a new car.

They've gone for the day.

We've had some very hot weather.

In all of the sentences above, the action or situation
is not continuing and it was not (necessarily) repeated.
Instead, the action was sometime in the past--but we
don't know when because there is no time phrase.

If there is a past time phrase in sentences such as the
above, present perfect tense cannot be used:

not this:

but this:

 

*I've seen that movie last week.

I saw that movie last week. OR
I've seen that movie.

     

not this:

but this:

 

*He's visited Egypt in 1997.

He visited Egypt in 1997. OR
He's visited Egypt.

     

not this:

but this:

 

*She's bought a new car last Monday.

She bought a new car last Monday.
OR She's bought a new car.

     

not this:


but this:

 

*They've left for the day about
an hour ago.

They left for the day about
an hour ago. OR
They've left for the day.

     

not this:

but this:

 

*We've had some hot weather in 1998.

We had some hot weather in 1998.
OR We've had some hot weather.

Important: In all the correct present perfect sentences
above, the action or situation is past and not continuing
or repeated, but it is either relevant to now or it might
be repeated. Also, the sentences do not have a time
phrase to tell when the action / situation happened.

More detail:

1.  

The action or situation might "connect"
(be related to) the topic of a present conversation.

In "I've seen that movie," for example, maybe
the conversation is about going to the movies
and a particular movie is mentioned. Someone
saw the movie in the past and doesn't want to
see it again--or maybe someone saw the movie
in the past and can add information that the
others don't know. The past action or situation
is relevant to now.

     
2.  

Use of the present perfect can suggest that
the action or situation may be repeated.

In "He's visited Egypt," for example, maybe
he enjoyed the trip to Egypt and would like
to repeat it--to go there again. The past action
or situation may be repeated; the speaker does
not consider it finished. (Use of past tense
would indicate the the speaker considers the
action / situation finished--that he or she is
not likely to do it again.)


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Next: time adverbials that are commonly used
with present perfect tense
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