Do You Understand Present Perfect? | English Grammar | Intermediate Lesson #1

Lesson summary

English grammar isn't hard, if you learn the right way. In today's lesson you will learn about the present perfect.

Video transcript

I have read Harry Potter.  What does that mean?  Past? Present? Future?  How many times? Is the time when it happened important?  Let’s find out. 


What’s up guys? My name is Shane and this is English Understood where I help you to understand English like a native speaker. 


Today we are talking about the present perfect tense.  We use the present perfect for something that happened in the past that has an effect on the present. 


There are many uses for the present perfect but today we are talking about using it for life experiences. 


The video will have four parts. Part 1: the structure and basic past participles.  Part 2: the meaning.  Part 3: questions and answers. And part 4: revision. 


Make sure you watch to the end so you can find out how your answer can be shown in the next video.  So get your notebook and let’s get started! 


Let’s look at our first example again.  I have read Harry Potter. 


How do we make that?  What’s the structure? 


We’ve got I, the subject. 


Have or has, the helping or auxiliary verb. 


And a past participle which is the main verb – it tells us what happened in the sentence. 


What is a past participle?  We normally use past participles with the passive voice and perfect tenses.  Some common examples are go,went,gone.  Is,am,are,was,were,been.  See,saw,seen.  Eat, ate, eaten.  Drink, drank, drunk.  Walk, walked, walked, Cut, cut cut.  Hear, heard, heard. 


If you want to practice these, you can practice saying them in sentences.  For example, I have been, I have seen, I have eaten and if you say them many many times, you will remember.  When you speak, you won’t have to think, it will just come out automatically. 


What about been and gone?  He has been to America.  He has gone to America.  What’s the difference? 


He has been to America.  Is he in America now?  No. 


He has gone to America.  Is he in America now?  Yes. 


Been means he has gone and come back. 


Gone means he is now in a different place and he still hasn’t come back. 


Now we know the structure, let’s look at what does it actually mean.  I have read Harry Potter. 


When did it happen?  In the past. 


Is it finished?  Yes. 


How many times did it happen?  We don’t know. 


Maybe it was 1, maybe it 10, maybe it was 100 but we don’t know. 


Is the time when it happened important?  No.  It’s not important, it doesn’t matter.  We only want to know has the person done that thing before? 


We know the structure, we know what it means but how do we make questions and answers. 


Let’s look at our first example again.  I have read Harry Potter.  How do we turn this into a question?  It becomes have you ever read Harry Potter? 


What about this one?  He has been to America.  How do we turn that into a question?  It becomes has he ever been to America? 


So what’s the structure?  It’s have or has plus the subject plus ever plus the past participle. 


So what if I ask you have you ever been to the moon?  You would probably say no so how can you answer the question?  You can say no I’ve never been to the moon or just no I haven’t. 


Okay, one more.  Have you ever seen harry potter, the movie?  If you want to say yes, you can say yes I have or yes I’ve seen it before.  If you want to say no, you can say no I haven’t or no I’ve never seen it before. 


Now, a quick tip if you want to sound more like a native speaker.  Have a look at this sentence.  He has been to America.  When a native speaker says this really quickly, the native speaker will say he has BIN to America.  Not been.  No, no, no, no.  He has BIN, he has BIN.  Now you try – he has BIN to America. 


What about the question?  What would the question be?  Has he ever BIN to America?  Not been.  Has he ever BIN to America?  Now you try.  Has he ever BIN to America? 


We have learned about the present perfect so let’s quick check is English understood. 


Have a look at this sentence.  I have worn a red shirt before. 


When did it happen?  Past. 


Is it finished?  Yes. 


Do we know how many times it happened?  No. 


Is the time when it happened important?  No. 


Okay, how do we change it into a question?  Have you ever worn a red shirt before? 


If you want to say yes, yes I have or yes I’ve worn a red shirt before. 


If you want to say no, no I haven’t or no I’ve never worn a red shirt before.


Just remember, never say I ever worn a red shirt. 


Also, when you’re writing, do not say I’ven’t.  You must write I haven’t worn a red shirt before, like this. 


Now, for a little bit of extra practice, I am going to show you a picture and you can think of a question for the picture. 


So for example, if I show you a picture of Australia, you can say have you ever been to Australia? 


And when you have your question, you can post it in the comments below or share it in on your social media but make sure you tag English understood at Instagram and at facebook.  I will have a look at all of your questions and the most creative question will be shown in the next video. 


Okay, that is it for today.  Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss any video that can help you understand English like a native speaker.  If you liked the video, please hit like and share this with your friends who are learning English.  And for more content, make sure you are following my Instagram and my facebook and I will see you in the next video.  I will have a look at all of the your. 

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