Present Perfect Simple Present Perfect Progressive



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Present Perfect Simple

Present Perfect Progressive

irregular verbs: form of 'have' + 3rd column of irregular verbs

Example:

I / you / we / they have spoken

he / she / it has spoken

regular verbs: form of 'have' + infinitive + ed



Example:

I / you / we / they have worked

he / she / it has worked


form of 'have' + been + verb + ing
 

Example:

I / you / we / they have been speaking

he / she / it has been speaking


Exceptions

Exceptions when adding 'ed' :

  • when the final letter is e, only add d

Example:

love - loved



Example:

admit - admitted



  • final l is always doubled in British English (not in American English)

Example:

travel - travelled



  • after a consonant, final y becomes i (but: not after a vowel)

Example:

worry - worried

but: play - played


Exceptions when adding 'ing' :

  • silent e is dropped. (but: does not apply for -ee)

Example: come - coming
aber: agree - agreeing

  • after a short, stressed vowel, the final consonant is doubled

Example: sit - sitting

  • after a vowel, the final consonant l is doubled in British English (but not in American English).

Example: travel - travelling

  • final ie becomes y.

Example: lie - lying

Use


Both tenses are used to express that an action began in the past and is still going on or has just finished. In many cases, both forms are correct, but there is often a difference in meaning: We use the Present Perfect Simple mainly to express that an action is completed or to emphasise the result. We use the Present Perfect Progressive to emphasise the duration or continuous course of an action.

Result or duration?


Do you want to express what has happened so far or how long an action has been going on yet?

Present Perfect Simple

Present Perfect Progressive

Result (what / how much / how often)

I have written 5 letters. / I have been to London twice.



Duration (how long)

I have been writing for an hour.


Certain verbs


The following verbs are usually only used in Present Perfect Simple (not in the progressive form).

  • state: be, have (for possession only)

Example: We have been on holiday for two weeks.

  • senses: feel, hear, see, smell, taste, touch

Example: He has touched the painting.

  • brain work: believe, know, think, understand

Example: I have known him for 3 years.

Emphasis on completion or duration?


Do you want to emphasise the completion of an action or its continuous course (how has somebody spent his time)?

Present Perfect Simple

Present Perfect Progressive

Emphasis on completion

I have done my homework. (Meaning: My homework is completed now.)



Emphasis on duration

I have been doing my homework. (Meaning: That's how I have spent my time. It does not matter whether the homework is completed now.)


Result or side effect?


Do you want to express that a completed action led to a desired result or that the action had an unwanted side effect?

Present Perfect Simple

Present Perfect Progressive

desired result

I have washed the car. (Result: The car is clean now.)



unwanted side effect

Why are you so wet? - I have been washing the car. (side effect: I became wet when I was washing the car. It does not matter whether the car is clean now.)


Time + negation: last time or beginning of an action?


In negative sentences: Do you want to express how much time has past since the last time the action took place or since the beginning of the action?

Present Perfect Simple

Present Perfect Progressive

since the last time

I haven't played that game for years. (Meaning: It's years ago that I last played that game.)



since the beginning

I haven't been playing that game for an hour, only for 10 minutes. (Meaning: It's not even an hour ago that I started to play that game.)


Permanent or temporary?


If an action is still going on and we want to express that it is a permanent situation, we would usually use the Present Perfect Simple. For temporary situations, we would prefer the Present Perfect Progressive. This is not a rule, however, only a tendency.

Present Perfect Simple

Present Perfect Progressive

permanent

James has lived in this town for 10 years. (Meaning: He is a permanent resident of this town.)



temporary

James has been living here for a year. (Meaning: This situation is only temporary. Maybe he is an exchange student and only here for one or two years.)


Signal words


Present Perfect Simple

Present Perfect Progressive

  • how often

  • ... times

  • how long

  • since

  • for

Put the verbs into the correct tense (Present Perfect Simple or Present Perfect Progressive)

  1. I (play)  football for five years.

  2. My team (win / only)  two matches so far.

  3. The others (be / always)  better.

  4. Are we not there yet? We (walk)  for hours.

  5. But we (cover / only)  an area of five miles so far.

  6. I (finish/just)  my homework.

  7. I (work)  on this essay since two o'clock.

  8. Jane (go out)  with Bob for seven years.

  9. Martin (date)  three girls this week.

  10. How long (wait / you)  for us?

Exercise 2

Put the verbs into the correct tense (Present Perfect Simple or Present Perfect Progressive).



  1. A: (you / play / ever)  tennis?

  2. B: I (play / only)  tennis once or twice. And you?

  3. A: I (learn)  tennis for two years.

  4. B: (you / take)  part in any competitions yet?

  5. A: I (participate)  in four contests this year.

  6. B: (you / win)  any prizes so far?

  7. A: No, I (win / not)  anything yet. I'm not that good yet. (you / enter / ever)  a contest?

  8. B: I (swim)  for seven years and I (receive / already)  some trophies.

Exercise 6

Put the verbs into the correct tense (Present Perfect Simple or Present Perfect Progressive).



  1. Why are you out of breath? - I (run) .

  2. The toaster is okay again. Dad (repair)  it.

  3. I am so tired, I (work)  all day.

  4. Your shirt is clean now. Maggie (wash)  it.

  5. I'm afraid, I'm getting a cold. I (walk)  home in the rain.

  6. Your clothes smell awful! (you / smoke) ?

  7. Peggy is ready for her exam now. I (help)  her preparing for it.

  8. It is dark in here because we (close)  the curtains. We want to watch a film and that's better in the dark.

  9. His voice is gone now because he (shout)  all morning.

Exercise 7

Put the verbs into the correct tense (Present Perfect Simple or Present Perfect Progressive).



  1. One can see through the windows again. Jane (clean)  them.

  2. You are absolutely sunburned. You (sit)  in the sun too long.

  3. We can watch the film now. Michael (connect)  the DVD player.

  4. The room looks much nicer now. I (hang)  up some pictures.

  5. Freddy is soaken wet. He (wash)  the dog.

  6. I am not hungry. I (eat / already)  something.

  7. Can I go outside? I (do)  my homework.

  8. My eyes are red because I (cut)  onions.

Exercise 10

Put the verbs into the correct tense (Present Perfect Simple or Present Perfect Progressive).



  1. A: (you / take)  the dog for a walk yet?

  2. B: I (work)  all day. I (come / just)  home from work and I (have / not) the time yet to walk the dog.

  3. A: How long (the dog / be)  home alone?

  4. B: For about 6 hours. You (walk / not)  the dog for a long time. Don't you want to go?

  5. A: Well, I (laze / not)  about all day either, you know. I have a very important meeting tomorrow and I still (finish / not) my presentation.

  6. B: Okay, I will go then. Where (you / put)  collar and leash?

  7. A: They are in the kitchen. By the way, (you / eat)  anything yet? If not, could you get us something from the supermarket?

Exercise 11

Put the verbs into the correct tense (Present Perfect Simple or Present Perfect Progressive).



  1. A: I (call)  for you for half an hour. Where (be) ? And why are your clothes so dirty?

  2. B: I (tidy)  up the shed in the garden.

  3. A: (you / find)  a box with old photos there? I (look)  for it for ages.

  4. B: I (discover / not)  it yet, but I (work / not)  for a long time yet. I (come / just)  in to eat something.

  5. A: I (cook / not)  anything yet because I (talk)  to our neighbour.


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