flesl.net grammar glossary::ditransitive prepositional verbs

present perfect

•The present perfect is one of the eight basic English verb tenses. It is formed with the simple present of have (have/has) as an auxiliary followed by the past participle form of the main verb. In other words:

present perfect = have/has + past participle.

• The present perfect is used in four important ways:

1. with a state verb to refer to a state (condition, situation) that begins in the past and continues up to the present

• for example: Harry HAS KNOWN Jill for a long time.

2. with an event verb to refer to an event happening at some indefinite (unspecified) time in the past

• for example: When Dick came in, Tom said, “I HAVE FINISHED the book you lent me.”

3. with an event verb to refer to habitual or repeated events in the past

• for example: Dick and Jane HAVE VISITED Italy several times.

NOTES:

i. When the present perfect is used to refer to a state, as in (1) above, it is implied that the state continues up to the present. If the verb tense in (1) were changed to the simple past (Harry KNEW Jill for a long time), the implication would be that Harry doesn’t know Jill now, perhaps because she has died. Although the present perfect is typically used with an adverbial indicating a period of time, it cannot be used with an adverbial indicating a point in time. For example, it would be a serious grammatical error to say, Harry has met Jill last June.

ii. When the present perfect is used to refer to a state as in (1) above or to habitual events as in (3), it is almost always accompanied by an adverbial (for a long time, for several years) referring to a period of time coming up to the present. When, as in (2), it refers to an event happening at an indefinite time in the past, there is still an implied relevance (connection) to the present: Tom is probably using the present perfect (and not the simple past) here because he knows Harry wants the book back now. In cases like this, where there is no adverbial either indicating a period of time coming up to the present or a specific point in time, either the simple past or the simple present could be used, but the present perfect is usually preferable.