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The Perfect Tenses


The Perfect Tenses: grammar rules, examples and when to use.
present perfect
past perfect
future perfect

The Present Perfect

The Formation of the Present Perfect

auxiliary verb to have (have/has) + Participle II 
(the present tense of the verb to have + the past participle of the main verb.)

Affirmative Interrogative Negative
I have worked.
He has worked.
She has worked.
It has worked.
We have worked.
You have worked.
They have worked.
Have I worked?
Has he worked?
Has she worked?
Has it worked?
Have we worked?
Have you worked?
Have they worked?
I have not worked.
He has not worked.
She has not worked.
It has not worked.
We have not worked.
You have not worked.
They have not worked.
(Verb Contractions: I have = I’ve; he has = he’s; she has = she’s; it has = it’s;  we have = we’ve; you have = you’ve;  they have = they’ve) 

The Present Perfect denotes:
1) a completed action closely connected with the present when the time os the action is indefinite.

Key example: 
Mr. Smith has finished his work. He can rest now.

For study:
  1. Mrs. Smith had laid the table. The family are having dinner. 
  2. Granny has prepared a surprise. Everybody is looking forward to it.
  3. Granny has baked a layer cake. The family are enjoying it. 
  4. Jane has cleared the table. She can do her lessons now.
  5. Little Kate has gone for a walk. It is quiet in the house.
Note: - The Present Perfect is not used when the time of the action in the past is definite, e.g.: I finished my work at 8 o’clock.


2) an action performed within a period of time which has not yet ended. The period may be indicated by such words as this month, this year, never, yet, etc.

Key example:
Annie has written an article this year.  

For study:
Samuel has been to London this month.
Sarah has studied abroad this year.
She has taken the post-graduate course this year.
She has never failed in in her exams.
She has already got a place at the hostel.

3) The beginning of the period is often indicated by the conjunction since which denotes “from some definite moment in the past till now”.

Key example:
Samuel has known me since he was twelve.

For study:
  1. Samuel has lived in Hanbury Street since he moved to London. 
  2. Sarah has studied abroad since she graduated from college. 
  3. We have been friends with Samuel since 2005. 
  4. Annie has worked as a hospital pharmacist since she graduated from the University.

The Past Perfect

The Formation of the Past Perfect


auxiliary verb had  + Participle II 
(the past tense of the verb to have + the past participle of the main verb.)

Affirmative Interrogative Negative
I had worked.
He had worked.
She had worked.
It had worked.
We had worked.
You had worked.
They had worked.
Had I worked?
Had he worked?
Had she worked?
Had it worked?
Had we worked?
Had you worked?
Had they worked?
I had not worked.
He had not worked.
She had not worked.
It had not worked.
We had not worked.
You had not worked.
They had not worked.

The Past Perfect denotes an action completed before a certain moment in the past.

Key example: 
He told us that he had passed his exams .  

For study:
  1. They told us that John had gone to the dentist. 
  2. I had come to the station before the train arrived. 
  3. I had seen my friend before the train stopped.
  4. I had called her before she saw me. 
  5. I had run up to her carriage before she got off.

The Future Perfect

The Formation of the Future Perfect


auxiliary verb shall/will have + Participle II 
(the future tense of the verb to have + the past participle of the main verb.)

Affirmative Interrogative Negative
I shall have worked.
He will have worked.
She will have worked.
It will have worked.
We shall have worked.
You shall have worked.
They will have worked.
Shall I have worked?
Will he have worked?
Will she have worked?
Will it have worked?
Shall we have worked?
Shall you have worked?
Will they have worked?
I shall not (I’ll) have worked.
He will (He’ll) not have worked.
She will not have worked.
It will not have worked.
We shall not have worked.
You shall not have worked.
They shall not have worked.
(Verb Contractions: I shall = I’ll; he will = he’ll) 

The Future Perfect denotes an action completed before a definite moment in the future or an action which will begin before a definite moment in the future, will continue up to that moment and will be going on at that moment.

Key example: 
They will have closed the shop before we get there.

For study:
  1. I shall have finished my work by the 23d of July.
  2. We shall have booked tickets by the time school breaks up.
  3. My daughter and I will have come to Miami by the 27th of July.
  4. We shall have been there a fortnight when my husband joins us.

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