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Present Perfect: uses

Present Perfect: uses
Activity Drag&Drop
Activity Drag&Drop
In this sentences you will have to choose which tense best completes, present perfect or simple past.

Content preview


Click on the words at the bottom and drag them into the empty boxes of the sentence to complete it.

Note: this exercise is designed for British English usage. In American English some examples may prefer a different tense. Sometimes both possibilities look possible, choose the best one considering the context or the absense of context.

To use the present perfect we need two conditions:

1- We can give no information about when the action happens (unless it happened in a present period of time)
2- There must be a connection between past and present

Now we are going to see the specific situations when these two conditions are fulfilled.




The word PERFECT in grammar means "past", and the word PRESENT means... "present", so the Present Perfect tense is talking about the past and about the present at the same time. There are three cases when this happens.

We will use standard action graphics, so first let's explain the meaning of them:

graphics explained

Remember that the PRESENT is not only this very instant of now, we usually have a wider conception of the present and it usually means "this time around now", which may include the past few minutes, hours or even days. And now let's see every case.


1 Past and Present action

The action started in the past and continues up to the present   (it may stop in the present or continue in the future)

graphic 1a  

B   graphic 1-b

A-  I've known Kevin for years
(the action still continues in the present)
B- Here you are! I've been looking for you all day  
(the action stopped)


2 Past action, Present period of time

The action finished in the past but it happens in a present period of time

graphic 2

I saw Tim yesterday, but I haven’t seen him today           
("yesterday" is a past period of time, "today" is present)
This year he’s passed all his exams
("this year" is still present)


3 Past action, Present consequences

The action is past but the important thing is its present consequence (not the past action). That is, we use a past action to talk about a present consequence.

graphic 2

Bill is giving a party because he has been elected president

(he celebrates that now he is president)
You've bought a new car!
(now you have a new car)



Gapped text Items
I ______________________ here since I was born have lived / lived
I ______________________ in Malaga from 1990 to 2002 have lived / lived
I feel terrible. I ______________________ ill all this week. was / have been
Now I feel ok, but last week I ______________________ ill. have been / was
We ______________________ in London in 1998 lived / have lived
She ______________________ music but she can play very well didn't study / hasn't studied
______________________ my cat? I can't find it anywhere Have you seen / did you see
I ______________________ anything today didn't eat / haven't eaten
No, she ______________________ me on Monday, she ______________________ me yesterday. hasn't phoned / didn't phone / has phoned / phoned
I think you ______________________ too much this evening, go home and sleep have drunk / drank
This week they ______________________ very busy were / have been
Last week she ______________________ very sad was / has been
What's wrong with her? She ______________________ very quiet all day has been / was
We ______________________ my Russian friends last year have visited / visited
We ______________________ my Russian friends for a very long time haven't visited / didn't visit
We're having a coffee. ______________________ coffee at home? Would you like some? Have you had / did you have
Look, I ______________________ the walls green, do you like it? painted / 've painted
It's too late, and I ______________________ my exam yet! didn't finish / haven't finished
She ______________________ a new pair shoes, she feels so happy has bought / bought
They ______________________ all the trees down, so now this place looks boring have cut / cut
When I was a child my parents ______________________ this house, and I ______________________ here all my life. lived / have lived / bought / have lived
At 6:00 somebody ______________________ the window and ran away broke / has broken
Somebody ______________________ the window, this is going to be expensive. has broken / broke
While I was talking on the phone, somebody ______________________ the window has broken / broke
We ______________________ to Toledo last weekend. We ______________________ lots of monuments and I ______________________ this wonderful sword. Do you like it? have visited / visited / went / have been / have bought / bought
Total number of items: 25


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