Present Perfect

The Present Perfect Tense is often taught in relation to certain adverbs. The Insights method focuses on three usages (for experiences, for states, and for results), which are all really variations of one overarching theme: the Present Perfect is used when verbs that began (and maybe finished) in the past are still relevant in the present, either because they continue or because their effects are more important than the actions.

What to Expect

The Present Perfect tense is often taught in relation to groups of adverbs that tend to go with it, each serving a different purpose:

    • ever & never
    • already, still & yet
    • for & since
    • just

The video focuses less on the adverbs and more on the reasons they are associated with. But more importantly, what students need to remember the most is that the Present Perfect tense is a way to express the past and the present together

In addition to looking at the 3 reasons for using Present Perfect, we’ll also compare each to a Past Simple usage.


Learners should already be familiar with the following:

Positive, Negative, & Question structures: to form a negative sentence out of a positive one, add not or never after the 1st auxiliary verb. For questions, the 1st auxiliary verb needs to come before the subject.

Present Simple and Past Simple are the tenses that students learn from the beginning, and they will be important here as they serve as comparisons to Present Perfect.

Have as an auxiliary verb is used for perfect tenses and comes before the main verb (in perfect participle form). The form ‘has’ works with 3rd-person singular subjects, and the form ‘have’ works otherwise. They are often contracted with the subject.

The Perfect Participle form is sometimes referred to as the ‘Past Participle’ form, and is what Insights designates as ‘V3’ (or Verb 3).

Regular verbs add ‘-ed’ to the end to create the Perfect Participle form. Irregular verbs have ‘-en’ endings or different changes. See the appendix for more.

Proficiency Level

Students at the A2 level are expected to know the Present Perfect tense. They might start learning it at the end of Elementary level (or 2nd out of 6).*

*actual starting level varies from one course-book series to the next

Present Perfect Usage

to express that a past action or its effect continues into the present:

    • EXPERIENCES that happened in the past and could happen again
    • STATES that began in the past and continue through the present
    • past actions with present RESULTS, in which the results are the focus

Bonus Notes

Log in to Insider Access to view this content.
(Signup is free!)

Printouts & Slideshows

Log in to Insider Access to view or download.

Keep on Learning; Keep on Teaching

Past Perfect

The Past Perfect tense is essentially the Present Perfect tense shifted into the past.
Visit Topic Page

Present Perfect Continuous

Combining the Present Perfect tense with the Continuous aspect - both in regards to form and usage - yields the Present Perfect Continuous tense.
Visit Topic Page