Exercise 1

Choose the correct option, present perfect simple or present perfect continuous, to complete the dialogue.

A: 1  the dog for a walk yet?

B: No, I haven’t. I 2 all day. I 3 home from work and I 4 the time to walk the dog yet.

A: So how long 5 home alone?

B: For about 6 hours. You 6 the dog zero times since last weekend. Why don’t you take him for a walk?

A: Well, I 7 things all day too, you know. I have a very important meeting tomorrow and I 8 my presentation yet.

B: Okay, I will go then.9 the collar and the leash?

A: They are in the kitchen. By the way, 10 anything yet? If not, could you get us something from the supermarket?


 

 

Uses of the present perfect simple

 
present perfect use
 

Recent past actions (just, already, yet)

 
To talk about past finished actions when we don’t know or say when the action happened. There’s often a present result.

  • John has broken his leg and he is in hospital.
  • Sue has left. (=She is not here any more.)

We use just for actions that happened a very short time ago.

  • Mike’s just called. He said that he’d call you back.
  • Sue has just left. She was here a minute ago.

We also use the present perfect simple with the words already and yet.

  • Have you already finished your homework?
  • She hasn’t called me yet.

 

Experiences (never, ever, before)

 
To talk about past experiences when we don’t say when something happened.

  • He has been to the moon. He’s an astronaut.
  • I haven’t been to India.

We often use the words never, ever, or before to talk about experiences.

  • I have never read this book.
  • Have you ever seen a John Wayne film.
  • I haven’t experienced anything like this before.

 

How much we have done of something of how many times we have done something

 
To talk about how much of something we have done or how many times we have done something (none, one, two, three, etc.) up to now.

  • He’s drunk a lot of coffee and now he is very nervous.
  • I’ve seen this film three times.
  • This shop has been robbed four times.
  • You’ve eaten too much.

 

The best thing I’ve ever done

 
We can use the present perfect simple with the superlative and ever.

  • This is the best meal I’ve ever had.
  • It’s the most amazing place we’ve ever travelled to.

 

Actions from the past till now (how long, for, since, lately, all day/morning, etc.)

 
With stative verbs (be, know, etc.) for situations that started in the past and still continue. We normally use expressions like how long, for, since, lately, all day, etc.

  • We’ve known each other since we were kids.
  • I haven’t seen Kate for years.
  • I’ve been very busy all weekend.

 

Uses of the present perfect continuous

 

Actions from the past till now (how long, for, since, lately, all day/morning, etc.)

 
With dynamic verbs for situations that started in the past and still continue or have just finished, and often have present results.

  • Have you been crying?
  • Sorry I am so dirty, but I’ve been painting.

To express duration, we often use words like how long, for, since, lately, all day, etc.

  • I haven’t been feeling well lately.
  • He’s been annoying us all evening.
  • She’s been studying very hard for weeks.
  • How long have you been playing golf?

We can use the present perfect continuous for either continuous or repeated actions from the past till now.

  • She’s been studying a lot lately.
  • She’s been calling you for days.

 

Present perfect simple or continuous?

 

Situations that started in the past and still continue

 
We can use either the present perfect simple or continuous for situations that started in the past and still continue. But we must use the present perfect simple with stative verbs, and we normally use the present perfect continuous with dynamic verbs (although the present perfect simple is also possible.)

  •  We’ve had this car for years.
  • I haven’t been sleeping well lately.

We use the present perfect continuous with dynamic verbs for situations that started in the past and still continue when we want to emphasise how long the situation has lasted.

  • I have been waiting for hours! (=I want to emphasise that I’ve been waiting for a long time).
  • I couldn’t do the dishes. I’ve been working all day.

 

Finished and unfinished situations

 
We use the present perfect simple for finished actions in the past, and the present perfect continuous for situations (happening from the past till now) that may or may not have finished.

  • Who has eaten my cookies? (=We would say this if there are no cookies left)
  • Who has been eating my cookies?  (=We would say this if there are some cookies left)
  • I’ve been watching the series you recommended. I’ll tell you about it when I finish watching it.
  • I’ve watched the series you recommended. I watched the last episode yesterday.

 

Actions with present results

 
We can use both present perfect simple or continuous for recent actions with a present result, but we use the present perfect simple when the present results come from having finished the action, and we use the present perfect continuous when the present results come from the process of performing the action (which may or may not have finished).

  • Look how nice my car looks. I’ve washed it.
  • Sorry I’m so sweaty. I’ve been washing my car.
  • Something is different in this house. Have you painted it?
  • How come you are so dirty? Have you been painting?

 


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