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The Present Perfect Tense (#6), by Dennis Oliver

The Present Perfect Tense #6

Certain time adverbs ("time words") are especially
common with the present perfect tense. The most
common are probably ever, never, already, yet, still,
and just.


1. Ever

Ever means "at any time." One of its uses is in questions:

 

Have you ever seen a double rainbow?

Has Jim ever been late for work?

Have Julie and her boyfriend ever had a fight?

Another common use for ever is in negative statements
(in which it means "not at any time"):

 

They haven't ever arrived late.

She hasn't ever fought with her boyfriend.

Bob hasn't ever smoked.

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2. Never

Never means "not at any time." Its main use is in
negative statements:

 

They've never arrived late.

She's never fought with her boyfriend.

Bob's never smoked.

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3. Already

Already is used in affirmative (positive) statements and
questions. It shows an action or situation that happened
earlier than expected:

 

They've already left. /
Have they already left?

She's already forgotten what you did. /
Has she already forgotten what you did?

You've already finished. /
Have you already finished?

 

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4. Still

In the present perfect tense, still is generally used in
negative statements. It shows an action or situation
that has lasted longer than expected:

 

They still haven't left.

She still hasn't forgotten what you did.

You still haven't finished!

 

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5. Yet

Yet is used in the same way as still. In present perfect
tense it frequently occurs in negative
statements and
shows an action or situation
that has lasted longer than
expected.
Yet's position in a sentence is different from
still's, however:

 

They haven't yet left. OR
They have
n't left yet. OR

She hasn't yet forgotten what you did. OR
She has
n't forgotten what you did yet.

You haven't yet finished! OR
You have
n't finished yet!

Yet is also commonly used in questions:

 

Have they left yet?

Has she forgotten what you did yet?

Have you finished yet?

Note: In questions, yet is at the end of the question.

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6. Just

In the present perfect tense, just is used to show an
action or situation that finished only a short time
before now:

 

They've just left.
(They left only a short time ago.)

She's just told me what you did!
(She told me only a short time ago what you did.)

They've just finished.
(They finished only a short time ago.)

 

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Special Notes

1.  

Ever and never are also common in the simple
present and simple past tenses:

He isn't ever late. /
Is he ever late?

He's never late.

He doesn't ever arrive late. /
Does he ever arrive late?

He never arrives late.

He wasn't ever late. /
Was he ever late?

He was never late.

He didn't ever arrive late. /
Did he ever arrive late?

He never arrived late.


When
never or ever mean "at any time, up to
and including now," people often use simple past
tense in speaking, but present perfect tense is
preferred in writing:

speaking:
I never saw him before!

writing:
I've never seen him before!

speaking:
I was never late until today!

writing:
I've never been late until today!

     
2.  

Already is sometimes put at the end of
a sentence, especially in speaking:

They've left already. /
Have they left already?

She's forgotten what you did already. /
Has she forgotten what you did already?

I've finished already. /
Have you finished already?

Note: In writing, this position for already is
considered to be awkward and substandard.

     
3.  

In speaking, already is often used with
verbs in the simple past tense instead of
verbs in the present perfect tense:

They already left. /
Did they already leave?

She already forgot what you said. /
Did she already forget what you said?

You finished already. /
Did you already finish?

Note: In writing, already is much more
commonly used with present perfect tense.

     
4.  

Still is used in negative statements in
present perfect tense, but in other tenses,
it can also be used in affirmative statements:

They're still here.

She's still working.

You can still finish on time if you hurry.

     
5.  

In formal writing, yet is more commonly
placed between the auxiliary and the verb
than at the end of a sentence:

better:
They haven't yet left.

not as good:
They haven't left yet.

better:
She hasn't yet forgotten what you said.

not as good:
She hasn't forgotten what you said yet.

better:
You haven't yet finished!

not as good:
You haven't finished yet!

Note: The end-of-sentence position for yet is
particularly awkward in longer, more complicated sentences (as, for example, in sentence two above).

     
6.  

In speaking, yet is often used with verbs
in the simple past tense instead of verbs
in the present perfect tense:

They didn't leave yet./
Did they leave yet?

She didn't forget what you said yet. /
Did she forget what you said yet?

You didn't finish yet. /
Did you finish yet?

Note: In writing, yet is much more commonly
used with present perfect tense (and is considered
substandard in simple past tense).

     
7.  

In speaking, just is also frequently used with
verbs in the simple past tense instead of verbs
in the present perfect tense:

They just left. /
Did they just leave?

You just finished. /
Did you just finish?

Note: In writing, just is much more commonly
used with present perfect tense.

 

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Next: Next: the idiom has / have got

 

 

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