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PERFECT TENSE

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PRESENT PERFECT TENSE
[HAS / HAVE] + [past participle]

EXAMPLES:
I have seen that movie many times.

I have never seen that movie.


NOTE: When you are using a verb tense with more than one part such as Present Perfect (have seen), adverbs usually come between the first part and the second part (have never seen).


 Unspecified Time Before Now    

We use the Present Perfect to say that an action happened at an unspecified time before now. The exact time is not important. You CANNOT use the Present Perfect with time expressions such as "yesterday," "one year ago," "last week," "when I was a chlid," "when I lived in Japan," "at that moment," "that day" or "one day." We CAN use the Present Perfect with expressions like "ever," "never," "once," "many times," "several times," "before," "so far," "already" and "yet."

EXAMPLES:

I have seen that movie twenty times.

I think I have met him once before.

There have been many earthquakes in California.

People have traveled to the moon.


IMPORTANT

When we use the Present Perfect it means that something happened at some point in our lives before now. Remember, the exact time the action happened is not important.



Sometimes we want to limit the time we are looking in for an experience. Expressions such as "in the last week," "in the last year," "this week," "this month," "so far" and "up to now" can be used to narrow the time we are looking in for an experience.



EXAMPLES:

Have you been to Mexico in the last year.

I have seen that movie six times in the last month.

They have had three tests in the last week.

This week my car has broken down three times.


NOTICE
"Last year" and "in the last year" are very different in meaning. "Last year" means the year before now. "In the last year" means from 365 days ago until now.

EXAMPLES:

I went to Mexico last year.
(I went to Mexico in 1998.)

I have been to Mexico in the last year.
(I have been to Mexico at least once at some point between 365 days ago and now. We do not know exactly when.)
 Duration From Past Until Now (Non-continuous Verbs)

With Non-continuous Verbs and some non-continuous uses of Mixed Verbs, we use the Present Perfect to show that something started in the past and has continued up until now. "For five minutes," "for two weeks" and "since Tuesday" are all durations which can be used with the Present Perfect.

EXAMPLES:

I have had a cold for two weeks.

She has been in England for six months.

Mary has loved chocolate since she was a little girl.

PAST PERFECT TENSE
(HAD) + [PAST PARTICIPLE]

Examples:

I had studied a little English when I came to the U.S.

They had never met an American until they met John.

NOTE: When you are using a verb tense with more than one part such as Past Perfect (had met), adverbs often come between the first part and the second part (had never met).
Completed Action Before Something in Past

The Past Perfect expresses the idea that something occurred before another action in the past. It can also show that something happened before a specific time in the past.

EXAMPLES:

I had never seen such a beautiful beach before I went to Kauai.

Had you ever visited the U.S. before your trip in 1992?

Yes, I had been to the U.S. once before in 1988.
 
Duration Before Something in the Past (Non-continuous Verbs)

With Non-progressive Verbs and some non-progressive uses of Mixed Verbs, we use the Past Perfect to show that something started in the past and continued up until another action in the past.

EXAMPLES:

We had had that car for ten years before it broke down.

By the time Alex finished his studies, he had been in London for over eight years.

IMPORTANT Specific Times with the Past Perfect

Unlike the Present Perfect, it is possible to use specific time words or phrases with the Past Perfect. Although this is possible, it is usually not necessary.


EXAMPLE:

She had visited her Japanese relatives once in 1993 before she moved in with them in 1996.


If the Past Perfect action did occur at a specific time, the Simple Past can be used instead of the Past Perfect when before or after is used in the sentence. The words before and after actually tell you what happens first so the Past Perfect is optional. Both sentences below are correct.

EXAMPLE:

She had visited her Japanese relatives once in 1993 before she moved in with them in 1996.

She visited her Japanese relatives once in 1993 before she moved in with them in 1996.

HOWEVER

If the Past Perfect action did not happen at a specific time, Past Perfect MUST be used at all times. Compare the two sentences below.


EXAMPLE:

She had never seen a bear before she moved to Alaska. Correct

She never saw a bear before she moved to Alaska. Not Correct

FUTURE PERFECT TENSE

[WILL HAVE] + [PAST PARTICIPLE]


EXAMPLE:

I will have perfected my English by the time I come back from the U.S.


[AM / IS / ARE] + [GOING TO HAVE] + [PAST PARTICIPLE]

EXAMPLE:

I am going to have perfected my English by the time I come back from the US.

NOTE: It is possible to use either "will" or "going to" to create the Future Perfect with little or no difference in meaning.


Completed Action Before Something in the Future

The Future Perfect expresses the idea that something will occur before another action in the future. It can also show that something will happen before a specific time in the future.

EXAMPLES:

By next November, I will have received my promotion.

By the time he gets home, she is going to have cleaned the entire house.



Duration Before Something in the Future (Non-continuous Verbs)


With Non-continuous Verbs and some non-continuous uses of Mixed Verbs, we use the Future Perfect to show that something will continue up until another action in the future.

EXAMPLES:

I will have been in London for six months by the time I leave.

By Monday, Susan is going to have had my book for a week.