already, ever, yet, since and for with present perfect
Oliveira from Brazil writes:
I speak without using the present perfect, can I still have
a good conversation with someone in English? I find the present
perfect so difficult and sometimes I can't understand it. Can
I avoid it?
is not easy to communicate with someone without using the present
perfect. We often need to talk about things which happened or
started to happen in the past and which are linked to the present
or future. The present perfect is the tense that we need
in order to do this.
may help you to fix it in your mind and start to use it if you note
that it is often used with the adverbs just, already, ever and
yet and with time phrases with for and since.
perfect with just /already
often emphasises the idea of close to the present, so it is often
used with the present perfect. Already suggests that something
has happened sooner than expected and again is linked with present
time and therefore the present perfect:
you want me to make the salad for supper tonight? ~ I've already
made it. It's on the table.
just spoken to Jane. She's not going to join us for supper
perfect with yet / ever / never / always
indefinite time adverbs suggest at any time up till now,
so they are ideally suited for use with the present perfect:
you ever driven a car with manual drive? ~ No, I never
have. I've always driven cars with automatic drive.
~ It's not too difficult. You'll soon get used to it.
don't think you've met Rachel yet, have you? ~ No,
I haven't. I've met a lot of your friends from work, but
I've not met Rachel yet. ~ She's absolutely lovely. I'm
sure you'll like her.
how in all these examples, use of the present perfect is linked
to the future as well as the present. Note also that the perfect
tense in negative sentences has two possible forms: I've not
OR I haven't, you've not OR you haven't,(s)he's
not OR (s)he hasn't, we've not OR we haven't,
they've not OR they haven't.
perfect with no indefinite time adverb
that we often use the present perfect with no indefinite time adverb,
even though we are thinking of a period of time up to the present.
In the following examples, yet is understood but not used:
you been to see the latest Spielberg film, Minority
Report? It's fantastic!
anybody seen Brenda? She's supposed to be at work today.
perfect with since / for
use for when we want to measure duration - when we want to
say how long something lasts. If we want to measure duration up
to the present, we therefore use it with the present perfect. Since
tells about the starting time of the action and how it has continued
up to the present time. It is therefore often used with the present
only been on this diet for a couple of weeks, but
I've already lost half a kilo.
lived in this house for over twenty years - ever since
July 1981 to be precise.
known Jennifer since she was two years old.
seen her since 11 April - the day on which she walked out
of the flat.
perfect progressive with since / for
and for are very often used with the present perfect progressive
as this tense enables us to emphasise the on-going nature of the
long have you been working for that software company?
~ I've been working for them for two years now.
out of work. Didn't you know? I've been looking for a job
since last Christmas, but I can't seem to find anything.
that with verbs which describe a state rather than an action,
verbs such as agree, consider, feel, find, know, like,
love, prefer, the progressive form is not normally
used, even if the meaning emphasises the continuous, on-going
agreed to lend her my car whenever she's in England.
known her family ever since we were neighbours in Frankfurt.
always loved her and always will.
But I've felt for some time now that she doesn't love me.
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