Present Perfect Tense

The present perfect tense is used for past events with a connection to the present and unfinished time.

Past events with a connection to the present examples:

I have lost my keys.

Mary has fixed my computer.

I haven’t read the book.

Unfinished Time examples:

I have lived in Raleigh since 1965.

Have you lived here all of your life?

Constructing the Present Perfect Tense

Positive statements

  Singular Plural
1st Person I have eaten We have eaten
2nd Person You have eaten You have eaten
3rd Person He has eaten They have eaten

Negative Statements

  Singular Plural
1st Person I have not eaten We have not eaten
2nd Person You have not eaten You have not eaten
3rd Person He has not eaten They have not eaten

 

Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns represent specific people or things.

They need to agree in:

  • number
  • person
  • gender

Use the following table to help you out:

Subject Pronouns

1st Person Singular male/female I
2nd Person Singular male/female you
3rd Person Singular male he
female she
neuter it
1st Person Plural male/female we
2nd Person Plural male/female you
3rd Person Plural male/female/neuter they

I go to the store,

You go to the store.

He goes to the store.

We go to the store.

They go they store.

Word Order in English

Word order is very important in English sentences. In fact the word order can directly impact the meaning of the sentence. Let’s look at some examples. There is a big difference between The dog bites the boy and the boy bites the dog. In English we can determine the meaning of the sentence by the word order. Another way to say this is we can determine the meaning by the sentence structure.

One basic structure is Subject – Verb – Direct Object.

Example: I kick the ball. In this example I is the subject, kick is the verb and the ball is the object.

A slightly more advanced version is Subject -Verb- Indirect Object – Direct Object.

I will kick Mary the ball.  In this example I is the subject, kick is the verb and the ball is the direct object and Mary is the indirect object.

Another example:

Subject – Verb – Adjective – Noun

I like the red car. In this example I is the subject, like is the verb, car is the object and red is an adjective.

 

Adjectives

Adjectives are a very important part of language. If you’re in a lower level, I’m know that you have learned a few English adjectives already. If you’re in a higher level or have been in the US for a few years, you probably know many adjectives.

Adjectives describe things. They tell a little more. For now, let us think about adjectives that come before nouns (like house, car). As you learn more English, you will learn more about adjectives.

For example:  I have a old house. He has an new car.

Old is an adjective describing the house and new describes the car.

In English, we say, “a big, blue ball” not “a blue, big, ball”. Do you know why? It’s because there is a special order we use, when we want to say more than one adjective. The table shows the order we use and some examples. The general order is opinion, size, age, shape, color, material, origin, purpose. Do you see why we say “big, blue” and not “blue, big“? …big comes before blue in the table.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
opinion size age shape color material origin purpose
pretty big young round blue cotton Spanish bowling
ugly small old square yellow plastic English serving

Here are three examples:

  1. A pretty, young, Greek girl was singing at the church.
  2. The big, green, bird flew into the yard.
  3. This is a small, purple, plastic cup.

 

Still More Verb Tenses

Remember we have seventeen (17) verb tenses in English. This week we are looking at the next group called the future tense.

Tense Sample sentences When do I use it? Level
Future Simple Affirmative: He will speak.
Negative:  He will not speak.
Question: Will he speak?
  • When the action is in the future that cannot be changed
  • A spontaneous decision
Beginner
Future Simple(going to) Affirmative: He is going to speak.
Negative:  He is not going to speak.
Question: Is he going to speak?
  • If a decision is made for the future
Beginner
Future I Progressive Affirmative: He will be speaking.
Negative:  He will not be speaking.
Question: Will he be speaking?
  • An action that is going on at a certain time in the future
  • An action that is sure to happen in the near future
Intermediate
Future II Simple Affirmative: He will have spoken.
Negative:  He will not have spoken
Question: Will he have spoken?
  • An action that will be finished at a certain time in the future
Advanced
Future II Progressive Affirmative: He will have been speaking.
Negative:  He will not have been speaking.
Question: Will he have been speaking?
  • An action taking place before a certain time in the future
  • In order to put emphasis on the course of an action
Advanced

 

More Verb Tenses

Remember we have seventeen (17) verb tenses in English. This week we are looking at the next group called the perfect tense.

Why is it called perfect? The name comes from a Latin verb  which means ‘to finish.’ In English, the perfect tenses are connected to the idea that the end of the event is most important.

 

Tense Samples When do I use it? Level
Present Perfect Simple Affirmative: He has walked.
Negative: He has not walked.
Question: Has he walked?
  • When you need to put emphasis on the result
  • If the action is still going on
  • If the action stopped recently
  • If the finished action that has an influence on the present
Intermediate
Present Perfect Progressive Affirmative: He has been walking.
Negative: He has not been walking.
Question: Has he been walking
  • When you need to put emphasis on the course or duration (not the result)
  • If the action recently stopped or is still going on
  • If the finished action has influenced the present
Intermediate
Past Perfect Simple Affirmative: He had walked.
Negative: He had not walked.
Question: Had he walked?
  • When action taking place occurs before a certain time in the past
  • When you need to put emphasis only on the fact of the action (not the duration)
Advanced
Past Perfect Progressive A: He had been walking.
N: He had not been walking.
Q: Had he been walking?
  • When the action taking place occurs  before a certain time in the past
  • When you need to put emphasis on the duration or course of an action
Advance

Verb Tenses in English

Did you know there are seventeen (17) verb tenses in English?  Don’t panic! You don’t need all of the tenses to speak English. If you keep studying, you will eventually learn all of the verb tenses. This week we will look at the first four tenses and how they are used. Next week we will look at the perfect verb tenses.

Tense Sample Sentences When do I use it? Level
Simple Present Affirmative: He walks.
Negative: He does not speak.
Question: Does he speak?
  • The action is n the present taking place once, never or several times.
  • Actions that are taking place one after another.
  • When we are talking about actions set by a schedule.
Beginner
Present Progressive Affirmative: He is walking.
Negative: He is not walking.
Question: Is he walking?
  • The action is taking place now.
  • The action is taking place only for a limited period of time.
Beginner
Simple Past Affirmative: He walked.
Negative: He did not walk.
Question: Did he walk?
  • The action takes place in the past once, never or several times
  • The actions take place one after another
  • The action taking place in the middle of another action
Beginner
Past Progressive Affirmative: He was walking.
Negative: He was not walking.
Question: Was he walking?
  • The action was going on at a certain time in the past
  • The actions taking place at the same time
  • The action took place in the past and was interrupted by another action
In

 

If I were a rich man …

In English conditional tenses are used for speculation. We can speculate about what could happen, what might have happened, and what we wish would happen. In English, most sentences using the conditional contain the word if.  The unreal past is when we use a past tense but we are not talking about something that really happened.

A type 2 conditional is used to refer to a time that is at any point in time, and a situation that is unreal or unlikely. These sentences are hypothetical. The type 2 conditional is used to refer to a hypothetical condition and its probable result. In type 2 conditional sentences, the if clause uses the simple past, and the main clause uses the present conditional.

Example:  If I were a rich man, I would have a big house.

Visit this site for practice with the conditional tense.