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26 Sep
ENG45  0






How do you know when to use present perfect or past perfect? Here are some explanations how.


Present perfect:

Definition: “perfect” means before in grammar, so present perfect refers to the events that have happened somewhere in the past and the result of it still can be seen now. There is a connection between past and now.

Structure: the form of present perfect is “have/has” + past participle

Depending on the subject we use to have or has plus the past participle of our verbs. Let’s look at some examples:

I have typed five letters since this morning.

They have been here for two hours and they are tired now.

She has spent seven hours for the new project.

Note: “since” and “for” are usually used for this tense.

The question form of the tense is easy. Let’s make the above sentences into question forms.

Have you typed five letters since this morning?

Has she spent seven hours for the new project?


Past perfect:

Definition: Again with the meaning of perfect that we had above it can be said that any events that have happened before the past time past perfect are used for that. In other words when two actions happen in the past and one of them happens to another one that event happening first should be in past perfect form. There is no connection between past and now.

Structure: the form of past perfect is “had” + past participle

Here are some examples:

When the children arrived the bus had left the bus stop.

By the time the father got home the children had already fallen asleep.


As you can see from the two sentences above two actions happened in the past but one of them happened earlier. That one is in the form of past perfect. The difference between the two tenses is that present perfect has a connection with now but past perfect doesn’t. The form for present perfect is “have”, whereas with past perfect it is “had”.

Hope the above explanations and examples have helped you to know these two tenses better.


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