• tips 10.03.2010 2 Comments

    • Present perfect tense

    We use the present perfect tense for the following:

    ü An unspecified time in the past

    –> I have seen that movie.

    ü An action that started in the past and continuous to the present

    –> She has been married for ten years.

    ü A repeated past action which may occur again

    –> I have been absent twice so far.

    Note the contrast with simple past tense:

    I have seen that movie –> you have seen it, that’s all, and you don’t mention specific time

    I saw that movie yesterday –> you mention specific time in the past

    • Present perfect continuous tense

    ü To emphasize the action, we use the continuous form.

    –> We’ve been working really hard for a couple of months.

    ü When an action is finished and you can see the results, use the continuous form.

    –> You’re red in the face. Have you been running?

    • Past perfect tense

    The past perfect tense is used with an event that occurred before another event in the past.

    –> By the time I got to the airport, the plane had already taken off.

    • Past perfect continuous tense

    The past perfect continuous tense is used with an event of duration that occurred before another event in the past (to look back at a situation in progress).

    –> He had been working there for three years when the accident happened.

    Example:

    Sarah (climb) ………………………………………. the Matterhorn, (sail) ………………………………………………………… around the world, and (go) ………………………………………. on safari in Kenya. She is such an adventurous person.

    What words do you have to put in the blanks?

    Sarah has climbed the Matterhorn, has sailed around the world, and has gone on safari in Kenya. She is such an adventurous person.

    You use the present perfect tense to describe Sarah’s experience. It happened in the past and may occur again. You can also see the last sentence which uses the simple present tense, so you can decide to use the present perfect tense to fill in the blanks.

    Now see the contrast in this sentence:

    Sarah (climb) ………………………………………. the Matterhorn, (sail) ………………………………………………….. around the world and (go) ………………………………………. on safari in Kenya by the time she turned twenty-five. She (experience) ………………………………………. more by that age than most people do in their entire lives.

    Sarah had climbed the Matterhorn, had sailed around the world and had gone on safari in Kenya by the time she turned (–> past tense) twenty-five. She had experienced more by that age (–> 25 years old) than most people do in their entire lives.

    Series of events/actions:

    Climb the Matterhorn, sail around the world, go on safari in Kenya (past perfect) –> turn 25 (past tense)