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Present Perfect

Present Perfect

Date: Oct 03 2007

Topic: Grammar

Author: rhyme_reason


(Please note that British and American English have different rules for the use of this tense. The explanation here refer to British English. In American English, it is often acceptable to use the past simple in some of these examples.)
We use the present perfect when we want to look back from the present to the past.
We can use it to look back on the recent past.

  • I've broken my watch so I don't know what time it is.
  • They have cancelled the meeting.
  • She's taken my copy. I don't have one.
  • The sales team has doubled its turnover.

When we look back on the recent past, we often use the words 'just' 'already' or the word 'yet' (in negatives and questions only).

  • We've already talked about that.
  • She hasn't arrived yet.
  • I've just done it.
  • They've already met.
  • They don't know yet.
  • Have you spoken to him yet?
  • Have they got back to you yet?

It can also be used to look back on the more distant past.

  • We've been to Singapore a lot over the last few years.
  • She's done this type of project many times before.
  • We've mentioned it to them on several occasions over the last six months.
  • They've often talked about it in the past.

When we look back on the more distant past, we often use the words 'ever' (in questions) and 'never'.

  • Have you ever been to Argentina?
  • Has he ever talked to you about the problem?
  • I've never met Jim and Sally.
  • We've never considered investing in Mexico.


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Sri Lanka

A useful lesson indeed.


dajenka, I think that though both forms are acceptable, it would be nicer to say "You've helped me" to emphasize that the help (the lesson) is still relevant to your present (and future) needs. On the other hand, you could say "you helped with the cooking that day". Here, the act of helping was something that was relevant to a completed event in the past. Of course, this rule may differ in American English.   

05:26 AM Feb 07 2008 |




thank you very much.frankly,i am not very clear about that before.

08:12 PM Jan 30 2008 |


Czech Republic

Thank you, I know all the rules now. My problem is,

what to write now. 

You've helped me or you helped me. I really don't know.  

06:42 PM Nov 04 2007 |




06:33 AM Oct 07 2007 |

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