Learn to Love the Present Perfect in English

Updated: Jul 12

ESL Present Perfect

The present perfect is a very useful verb tense because it provides meanings and uses that aren't available with the simple past tense. Some ESL learners might try to avoid it (those dang past participles!), but it’s your friend.

How to Form the Present Perfect

FORMATION = have/has + past participle

As you might already know, your use of has or have depends on the subject.


He has gone too far.

They have studied English for years.

The trickier part is the past participles. The past participles are almost always the third column of any English verb chart that you see. The regular verbs add -ed. The irregular verbs are trickier. I suggest you review a few at a time from a comprehensive list like this one from ESL Desk.

When Do You Use the Present Perfect?

1. For an action that began in the past and is still true today