Please note some interesting facts
The Present Perfect can be used
1. to refer to something that will happen at some time in the future. E.g. As soon as I have settled in, come and stay!
2. after the expressions this/ that/ it is the first/ second/ third etc time. E.g This is the fourth time I've seen United play this season.
3. after the expression it's (two/ three etc) years/ a long time since... The past simple is also possible. E.g. It's years since I've had/ I had bacon for breakfast.
Present Perfect Continuous
The Present Perfect Continuous can be used
1. with verbs which describe actions (e.g. give, play, take), but not with stative verbs (e.g. be, know, like).
2. with verbs that suggest extended or repeated activity. It often focuses on the fact that it is ongoing and on the duration E.g. He's been playing football all afternoon and needs a shower. On the other hand, the Present Perfect Simple is used when we say the number of times. E.g. He has played for the national team in 65 matches so far.
3. when we draw a conclusion from what we can see or hear often to complain. E.g. Who's been messing around with my papers? They're all over the place.
The simple form of the Present Perfect can emphasise completion. E.g. I have read the book you gave me. Whereas with the Present Perfect Continuous the action is still continuing. E.g. I have been reading the book you gave me- I think I know how it is going to end.
The Present Perfect Simple emphasizes the result. E.g. I've phoned all my friends and they're coming to the party. Whereas The Present Perfect Continuous emphasises the activity. E.g. I've been phoning my friends that's why I haven't done my homework.
The Present Perfect Simple may give the idea that something is more permanent. E.g. He's worked in this shop all his life. I've always lived here. While The Present Perfect Continuous may give the idea that something is temporary /ˈtemprəri/ (limited duration, temporariness /ˈtemprərinəs/). E.g. I've been working in a supermarket before going to university.
To talk about how many times something happened in a period up to a particular past time, we use the past perfect, not the past perfect continuous. E.g. How many times had you met him before yesterday?
After that/ it was the first/ second/ third etc time... E.g. We went to Switzerland last summer; it was only the second time we'd been abroad.
After it was (two/ three etc) years/ a long time since... E.g. It was a long time since she had last seen her old schoolfriend
After certain time linkers e.g. after, before, by the time, as soon as, once, when, until. E.g. It was dark by the time I had finished repairing the roof. The past simple can be used if the order of events is clear: e.g. I had a relaxing bath after I got home from work last night.
Participle clauses can sometimes be used in place of clauses with when or after and the past perfect. E.g. Having eaten his sandwhich, he put his coat on and left (After he had eaten his sandwich...)
Past Perfect Continuous
The Past Perfect Continuous can be used to describe an ongoing action that went on before another past action and was completed or continued. We use this tense when we want to focus on duration. E.g. He had been driving all day, so he was very tired. He had been trying to telephone the breakdown service for two hours.
Future Perfect Simple
The Future Perfect Simple can be used
1. to express an action which will have taken place by a certain time in the future. E.g. The show will have finished by six o'clock.
2. when something is taken for granted. E.g. He will undoubtedly have made 100 runs before the end of the game.
Future Perfect Continuous
The Future Perfect Continuous can be used for an action which began before a certain future time and will not have finished by that time. E.g. Next year I will have been working in the company for 30 years.
Exercise: fill in the gaps with a perfect tense.
1. By the time you get home I ___________ (clean) the house from top to bottom
2. Joseph ____________ (kick) a football against the wall all day
3. On Saturday, we ___________ (living) in this house for a year
4. I ____________ (stay) in the hotel twice in the 1980s
5. When you ___________(finish), you can go home
6. He __________ (driving) for about half an hour when the engine suddenly stopped.
7. I think someone ___________ (tamper) with my mail (Tamper with interfere with)
8. She felt terrible during the interview because she ___________ (suffer) from flu since the previous day.
9. He _________ (learn) how to play chess and he can play well now.
However, he ___________ (learn) how to play baseball for quite some time
but he is still meeting his trainer once a week.
10. I _______________(never/kissed) anyone until I ___________ (meet) you.
11. That's the third time I ______________ (have) to tell you to stop shouting!
12. It looks as if he ____________ (cry) again. His eyes are all red and puffy (looking swollen).
13. It was 2 months since we _____________(meet).
14. It's the first time they ____________ (be) abroad.
15. By the time you reach the coast, you ______________ (drive) for two hours.
1. By the time you get home I will have cleaned the house from top to bottom (ended by a particular point in the future)
2. Joseph has been kicking a football against the wall all day (repeated action)
3. On Saturday, we will have been living in this house for a year (in progress at a particular point in the future)
4. I had stayed in the hotel twice in the 1980s (talking about how many times)
5. When you have finished , you can go home (it will happen at some time in the future)
6. He had been driving for about half an hour when the engine suddenly stopped. (completed action before the past)
7. I think someone has been tampering with my mail (drawing a conclusion and complaining)
8. She felt terrible during the interview because she had been suffering from flu since the previous day (action before the past that continued beyond it)
9. He has learnt how to play chess and he can play well now. However, he has been learning
how to play baseball for quite some time but he is still meeting his
trainer once a week. (present perfect for a completed action and present
perfect continuous if the action is still ongoing)
10. (had) never kissed/ met
The past perfect of "kiss" is optional since the sequence of events is made clear by "until".
11. have had
12. has been crying
13. had met
14. have been
15. will have been driving