Another five uses for the present perfect in English

In the last video lesson, we looked at the difference between using present perfect and past simple in English. We also looked at five uses for present perfect. In this second part, we'll look at another five uses of the present perfect tense, which will take us to ten uses in total...


Hi everyone, in this video lesson we are going to look at the present perfect. We're going to look at another five uses for the present perfect.

If you haven't seen the first video, go back, watch that video first. In this video we're going to look at another five uses for the present perfect.

The key point to remember here is that the present perfect is different to the past simple. The present perfect makes a connection between a point in the past and the present - now.

So this is very useful for expressing a number of different ideas and concepts and in this video we're going to look at another five uses for the present perfect.

OK, so number one. You can use the present perfect to talk about an incomplete or unfinished action. You could say: 'I haven't finished my homework', or 'I haven't finished my homework yet'. 'Yet' suggests that you intend to finish it in the future. Or 'I still haven't finished my homework', suggesting that it's taking me a long time to finish it. Maybe it's too hard, I feel frustrated. Maybe I will never finish it!

Number two. We can use the present perfect to talk about something that happened in the past that has a present result. For example, 'I have already had breakfast'. This happened in the past, it doesn't matter when I had breakfast, but the result is that now I am not hungry.

Number three, it's very common to hear the present perfect used in the news. If you want to see what I mean, just look in a newspaper and you'll see lots of examples. The present perfect helps to make something sound more new, so that's why it's so good for the news, because even though these events happen in the past, the present perfect makes a connection with the present and makes it sound more recent and more immediate and more important. So you might see something like: 'The stock market has fallen', or 'Germany has won the World Cup'. Both of these events happened in the past, but by reporting them in the present perfect they sound more immediate - they sound more connected to the present.

Number four. In the same way we can use present perfect to talk about recent events. So we can say: 'I have just eaten' and the 'just' emphasises how recent that event is. It happened in the past, but it happened only a short time ago and that's why it's still relevant now.

And finally, we can use the present perfect to talk about repeated actions between a point in the past and the present. So for example you could say: 'I have played football a lot this year'. These actions happened again and again, but at different times in the past.

OK, so altogether in both video lessons that comes to ten different uses for the present perfect. It might seem like a lot but the more you see and hear these examples, the more they'll become clearer to you.

Once again, let's just remember the form of the present perfect. It's 'have' plus the past participle. For example, have learnt, have talked, have written.

Let's finish up with a little quiz. I'll give you a few example sentences and I want you to decide how each example of the present perfect is being used. So, for example, is it a recent event or is it a news story?

Number one. 'I have already had lunch'.

Number two. 'I have just had lunch'.

Number three. 'I still haven't finished all my homework'.

Number four. 'I have been to the beach a lot this year'.

Number five. 'The President has made an announcement'.

OK, that's it! So in total, you've got ten different uses there for the present perfect. Some might seem a bit similar, but if you look at the examples you'll see the difference between them. Remember, you can always watch this video lesson again. The more you do, the more it makes sense. It's always easier the second time. Don't forget to share the video with your friends if they're learning English. Give the video a 'like', subscribe to my channel and go to where you can practise your English more and you can find full courses to help you improve your English and you can always take the first course for free!

Good luck! Keep practising and I'll see you soon.