Автор Анна Евкова
Преподаватель который помогает студентам и школьникам в учёбе.

Употребление перфекта в английском языке (Forms)



I have chosen the topic of my research for several reasons but I have to admit that I have been interested in using Present perfect for several years since an interesting episode happened with me in London. I was studying English in summer language school there. There were a lot of groups from different countries. One day having visited the museum all the groups had to get together at the underground station before going back to the campus. Having found out that the only one Greek group was missing the leaders made a decision to leave one staff member behind to wait for them and to set off with the others. In some minutes one of the staff leaders got a phone call from the Greek group-leader who said “We’ve got lost”. Having got this information the chief staff member urgently called the police reporting that the group of students had got lost in the area and asked for the help.

Just after they had hung up they got another phone call from the stuff member, who had been left behind waiting for the missing group, asking to put off the dinner for twenty minutes as they were already on the way.

The rest of the way the staff who were going with us were discussing how the Greek group-leader could say “We have got lost” instead of “we got lost”, explaining the reason of coming late to the meeting point. I was astonished because I had not realized before that native speakers get different information if they hear either Present Perfect or Past Simple. If the Greek group leader had not used Present Perfect Tense, the staff members would not have called the police.

Since that moment I realized the importance of Present perfect and have chosen it as the topic of my research.

In our course paper we have studied the cases of using present perfect, analyzed the theoretical material devoted to Present Perfect simple and progressive, and analyzed modern pieces of literature and Mass media sites.

The object: of course paper is grammar Present Perfect tense.

The subject of this work is different ways of using present Perfect in works of modern British literature such as “watching the English” by Kate Fox and “A street cat named Bob” by James Bowen and different issues of BBC podcast “6-minute English”.

The Aim of this research is to study using of present perfect in modern English. In order to achieve the aim we have set the following goals:

  • to analyze the theoretical sources
  • to find and classify examples of using Present Perfect in some works of modern British literature
  • to find an classify examples of using Present perfect in the Mass media

Chapter 1. The theoretical usage of present perfect.

The method chosen for our research is to highlight the theoretical basis of using Perfect Tense in English language analyzing works of Michael Swan, Mark Foley and Diana Hall and Mark Lloyd. Having systemized cases of using Perfect, match them to particular examples in modern literature and mass media sources.

Thus, in the first chapter we introduce the theoretical usage of Present Perfect.

Technically speaking perfect tenses belong to the grammatical category of aspect‏‎. Aspect refers to the nature of the action described by the verb. There are three aspects: indefinite (or simple), complete (or perfect), continuing (or progressive).

In Linguistics‏‎, the grammatical aspect of a verb defines the temporal flow (or its lack) in the described event or state. For example, in English the difference between I walk and I am walking is a difference of aspect, not tense.

Tense and aspect are formally separated in the English language but when it comes to everyday usage the two tend to merge and we generally talk about perfect tense rather than perfect aspect.

The use of perfect tenses in everyday conversation sets you apart as an advanced learner of the English language. Perfect tenses are different in that they have no similar structure in the Russian language, and can either be translated into Russian either as the past tense or present tense verbs.

1 Forms

We form the Present Perfect simple with has/have with past participle

There has been a serious decline in the number of people buying luxurious goods.
Have the builders finished the new finish pool yet?

We usually contract has/have in speech and in formal writing.

The film`s already started – we would better hurry.
I`ve been to the she summer shops and they haven`t stated the summer sales yet.

It is important to take into account that a lot of English verbs have irregular past participle, e.g.

bring-brought, take-taken

According to Michael Swan “Practical English Usage” [1] in older English, some Present Perfect forms were made with be, not have (e.g. winter is come) This does not happen in Modern English now, though there is an exception with “finished” .

“Finished” can be used as an adjective meaning “ready”
Is the course paper finished yet?

With personal subjects “to be finished is often used in an informal style with the same meaning as to have finished
How often will you be/have finished, dear?
I went to get the car the garage but they
weren`t/haven`t finished.

Present Perfect passive can be used like Present Perfect active to talk about finished actions with present consequences.
Pumba has been arrested. The police have arrested Pumba.

2. Present Perfect Simple for unspecified time.

We use the Present Perfect Simple to refer to events at an unspecified time in the past which are relevant and important now
The Global has already had a dramatic effect on a plane.

3. Finished events connected with the present

We use the Present Perfect Simple especially to say that a finished action or event is connected with the present in some way. If we say that something has happened, we are thinking about the past and the present at the same time.
I can`t go on holiday because I have broken my leg

We cannot use “I broke my leg”, because it is important now that the leg is broken as it is the reason for not going on holiday.

We could often change a Present perfect sentence with a similar meaning.
I`ve broken my arm=>My arm is broken.
Have you read “Watching the English”?=> Do you know “Watching the English”?

Present Perfect Simple is also often used to express the idea of completion, achievement or experiences in life up to now.
At last! I`m finished!
Have you done all the homework?
She has won the Oscar.

We do not use Present Perfect if we are not thinking about the present
I`ve travelled in Africa a lot (also means: I know Africa).
Some people think that Shakespear travelled a lot in Germany.

we cannot use “has travelled” As it does not refer to present

Connection with present

I cannot go on holiday

Finished action

I have broken my leg




4. Present Perfect for finished events, News

Present Perfect is normally used to announce news of recent events
Jane has won the first prize.
Have you heard? Aunt Ann has lost her key again
Here are the main points of the news. The pound has fallen against dollar.
The Prime Minister has said that Government`s economic policies are working

After announcing news the simple is usually used for more details.
Uncle Sam has crashed the car again. He ran in to the tree in High Street.

Present Perfect for news

Uncle Sam Has crashed the car again

News now

Finished action



Past details

He ran into a tree in high street



Simple past for details

5. Time words: ever before recently and etc

When we talk about finished extents with words that mean ‘at some/any time up to now’ (like ever, before, never, yet, lately, already), we normally use the Present Perfect.
Have you ever seen a ghost? She has never said ‘sorry’ in her life.
I`m sure we`ve got met before. Has the postman come yet?

6. Repetition up to now.

We can use the Present Perfectto say that something has happened several times up to the present.
I’ve written six letters since lunchtime.
Adverbs of frequency like often, sometimes, occasionally are common with the Present Perfect.
How often have you been in love in your life?
I’ve sometimes thought of moving to Australia.

7. Continuation up to now.

To talk about actions and situations that have continued up to the present, both the simple present perfect and the present perfect progressive are possible (depending on the kind of verb and the exact meaning)
I’ve known her for years. (not I know her for years.)

8. Thinking about past and present together

We use the present perfect if we are thinking about the past and present together. We do not use the present perfect if we are not thinking about the present
for example:
-My sister has learnt French. (She can speak French now.)
Shakespear probably learnt Italian. (
NOT Shakespear has probably learnt Italian.)
-We’ve studied enough to pass the exam. (The exam is still to come.)
We studied enough to pass the exam. (The exam is over.)

We do not use Present Perfect in story-telling/
Once upon a time a beautifulfell in love with a poor student.
(not … has fallen in love)





Shakespear probably learnt Italian.

Only thinking about the past: simple past



My sister has learnt French.(=she can speak French now.)

Thinking about the past and present together: present perfect

9. Ever, before, recently and etc.

Also Present Perfect is used with words that mean at some time/any time up to now’
Have you ever been in New Mexico?

10. Time is not mentioned

We use the present perfect when we are thinking of a period of ’time up to now’, even if we do not mention it.
Have you seen ‘Romeo and Juliet’? (=Have you ever seen it? Or have you seen the present production?’)
On the other hand, we do not use the present perfect when we are thinking of a particular finished time, even if we do not mention it/
Did you see ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (it was on TV last night.)
My grandfather did a lot for me. (When he was alive.)

10. Causes and origins

Normally, when we are talking about the past with the present results we will use Present Perfect.

I can`t come to your party because I`ve broken my leg.
Though we use present perfect in order to talk about events past tense is much more preferable then we are going highlight the doer or particular time when this took place. For example:
- Look what john`s given me! (thinking about the gift)
Who gave you that? (thinking about the past action of giving)
- Some fool has let the cat in.
Who left that cat in?

To sum up I would like to highlight that Perfect is widely spread, often used grammar aspect as we have agreed in this chapter earlier, tense, which is commonly used in different cases. The main difficulty for Russian speakers is that it might be easily confused with past simple tense.

Chapter 2

In the second chapter we tried to illustrate theoretical material focusing on two pieces of modern British literature: ‘A street cat named Bob’ by James Bowen and ‘Watching the English’ by Kate Fox.

The novel by James Bowen is a vivid autobiographical true story. So, there is a real plot and lots of dialogues. On the contrary a brilliant and at times hilarious book- observation ‘ Watching the English’, which is a research of the only popular UK anthropologist Kate fox, has clear structure which includes chapters devoted to different situations and social environment like pub talk, the mobile phone, food rules, dress codes and so on. So, demonstrating brilliant and smart modern language, it does not have clear plot as it is a sort of popular scientific research.

The comparative analysis of these two sources was rather interesting as it gave pretty different examples of using Perfect tense.

In our research we tried to match examples of using Perfect tense in authentic literature to the particular cases of using Perfect tense in our theoretical chapter.

2.1 Examples of using Perfect tense in ‘Watching the English’ by Kate Fox

It was rather surprising to find out that according to the popular scientific genre of ‘Watching the English’ the main majority of verbs are used either in Present Simple or Past Simple Tense. All the cases of using Present Perfect can be referred to the third point of our classification as “finished events connected with the present” or point six “repetition up to now”

My colleagues at SIRC and I have conducted quite extensive cross-cultural research on drinking places” (p.129, 1).
This is an example of using Present Perfect for finished events, because the mentioned research is completed.

“Many commentators have observed queuing is almost national past time for the English” (p.132, 1).
This quotation illustrates the sixth point in our classification “repetition up to now”, as we are talking about a number of commentators who observed queuing in the past and still do it now.

“When the book came out, some English readers told me that it equally disconcerting to read the result of this exercise, and now I have received many similar comments from readers of ‘Watching the English’” (p.135, 1).

This example also illustrates point number six as we are talking about multiple comments which are still coming.

“The economic recession has resulted in a slight shift in these attitudes, in that at least upper-middles are now much less reluctant to shop in the cheaper working class supermarkets”(p.345, 1)
Using of Present Perfect in this sentence refers to point three “finished events connected with the present.

2.2 Examples of using Perfect tense in ‘A street cat named Bob’ by James Bowen 

As we mentioned earlier most quotations including Present Perfect from the book ‘Watching the English’ refer to a very limited range of cases, listed in the theoretical chapter. In contrast, the book ‘A street cat named Bob’ provides us with examples of various Perfect structures.


The first group of examples refers to the indefinite past, when we speak about the past without the time being fixed or clear, we use the present perfect rather than the past simple. Indefinite past uses of the present perfect include experience (I’ve read Harry Potter) and past action with a present result (I’ve lost my keys.)

“Hello, mate, I’ve not seen you before, do you live here?” (p.3, 2)

“I would love to have known”. (p. 27, 2)

“You are lucky to have found him”. (p.68, 2)

“You`ve found yourself a real friend there” (p.68, 2)

“He`s obviously decided to attach himself to you” (p.86, 2)

“He`s gone, I`ve lost him”. (p.120, 2)


The second group refers to unfinished situations or actions.


I’ve lived in London for ten years. (I still live there)

I lived in London for ten years. (I no longer live there)

“How long have you had him?”(p.68, 2)


The third group refers to unfinished time.


I’ve had two cups of coffee this morning. (It’s still morning.)

I had two cups of coffee this morning. (It’s now afternoon or evening)

“He`s been there for days”. (p.6, 2)

“Come back and see me again if things haven`t improved in a fortnight” (p.18, 2)

“It`s been a day to remember” (p.71, 2)


Surprisingly, it is possible to say, the majority of examples refer to the using of perfect infinitive after modal verbs to express certain past ideas.

( modal +have + past participle) Could + have + past participle

This structure is used to talk about unrealized past ability or opportunities- to say that someone was able to do something , but did not try to do it or that something was possible but did not happen.

“I could have kissed her”. (p. 123, 2) so it means that he had an opportunity to do it, but did not kiss her. Must +have + past participle

This structure is used to express certainty about the past.

“I could tell that he must have been in a fight or an accident because there were scratches on his face and legs”. (p.6, 2)
Here the main character is almost sure that the cat was in a fight.

“He must have smelled cooking or something”. (p.6, 2)
Certainty about the reasons why the cat is here is introduced in this sentence.
The following examples also illustrate the same idea.

“It set me thinking again about the life he must have led before he had arrived in the hallway of the block of flats”. (p. 26, 2)

“I must have been wearing a smile as wide as the Thames”. (p. 111, 2) Might + have + past participle

This structure can be used to say either it is possible that something possible or something is true or happened in the past that something was possible but did not happened. This structure can sometimes refer to the present or future.
The following example illustrates this case.

“Looking back on it, something tells me it might have been second chance too”. (p.1, 2) Should +have + past participle

This structure can be used to talk about past events which did not happen or which may or may not have happened or to refer to unreal situations.

“A bomb could have gone off and he wouldn`t have left her”. (p.20, 2)

Our analysis of these pieces of modern British literature reveals the actuality significance of perfect aspect in modern English language.

To sum up, we would love to notice that there are many ways to understand grammar. Obviously the best way is to understand it instinctively as a native speaker does. Natives don’t have to think about rules. They just understand without trying. Learners can only hope that repeated exposure to a second language will give them something like native understanding. Referring to the authentic literature gives the chance to feel the language like native speakers do.
Moreover, having analyzed and compared two books in different genres unexpectedly we came up to a conclusion that in a scientific popular literature Perfect is used in a very limited number of cases. On the contrary, fiction literature contains endless variety cases and structures.

Chapter 3

Having considered different cases of using Perfect aspect or as we have agreed to say tense via theoretical literature devoted to grammar in particular, and two contemporary books in different genres, we decided to refer to one more but not less important source of written language - mass media. One of the most worldwide popular sites devoted to use of English is BBC. So, we came up to a decision to study the language, used in different issues of 6-minute English podcasts and BBC news issues.

3.1 Podcasts

We tried to classify examples of using present perfect in mentioned sources into three groups.

First, Present Perfect, used to describe a situation, an action or a state that started in the past and continues until now. It usually involves an idea of a time span in its core. The span of time can be expressed either explicitly (using for, since, etc.) or implicitly (this is when we usually make the most of our mistakes). In this case we can also use the Present Perfect Continuous tense.

“Has anxiety been good for humans?

He has written a lot about how evolution has an impact on our mental condition, particularly anxiety. Recently he spoke on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Start the Week’ programme about this topic.”[9]

“Everyone's wearing them!

Despite what Neil's been told, comfortable shoes, such as trainers, are considered more acceptable these days than ever before. This is because more and more people are wearing them. But what has caused this rise in popularity? Has it happened suddenly, or over time?

Well I think it's been, sort of, coming on for a while. And I think one thing in fashion in the last 10 years has been a, sort of, mass casualization of everything. And there's been a big streetwear trend, which has filtered through” [10]

Secondly, the Present Perfect tense used to describe an action that has just completed. In this case we do not need to  point to the exact time in the past when the action took place, but rather we deliver the news. Likewise, the "just-completed" action can be expressed explicitly (using just, already, yet, this morning, this month, this year) or implicitly (this is when we need to understand the context very well). If there's a time phrase pointing to the past we use the Past Simple.

“So, is it something that's happened very recently?” [10]

Finally, Present Perfect used to describe our accomplishments or state a fact of something that we have or haven't done up to todaySuch accomplishment can either be explicit (use words ever, never, three times, four times, so far, etc.) or implicit (you don't have the words pointing to the use of the tense, but you still use the Perfect Tense)

“Do smart speakers make life easier or spy on you?

Yes, they may have bugged your most intimate, or private and personal, spaces. “[11]

Natural selection has shaped all organisms to have special states to cope with certain kinds of circumstances. 

We’ll find out that reason shortly but first he said that natural selection has shaped all organisms. This means that we are the result of natural selection. It has made us what we are. “

“Apparently not, no. She said that there has been a mass casualisation of things over the last 10 years. Casualisation here means 'the process of becoming less formal and more relaxed' – 'more casual'.

There are now a lot of fabric trainers and if you've inherited foot problems, then that kind of fabric… they're wrapping around knobbly bits, and knobbly bits hurt.

So, it's the combination of a change in fashion and a change in a material that’s made trainers and other comfy shoes more popular than ever, right?”

“Neil and Rob talk about the animal symbol of Easter in literature and in the real world

So Victoria knows a thing or two about rabbits – and said the word 'warren' used in town and village names, is evidence that they've been in the UK since the mid-17th Century. 

But despite its reputation, a recent survey suggests rabbit numbers in the UK have declined by around 60 per cent over the last 20 years. 

Well, I’m no trickster, it really has been six minutes so it's time to call it a day”.[12]

Is it time you decluttered?

Recently, people have been trying to find ways to reduce the amount of stuff that they own.

Things became more affordable. You can buy five tops for five pounds each and people have done that. And that's allowed the consumerism to kind of go crazy in the 21st century.[09]

Having picked up some quotations from different issues of these popular podcasts it is possible notice that Present perfect used to talk about the events of the past makes story more interesting and alive. Also we have noticed the tendency to use Present Perfect while introducing the news followed by past simple for giving more details.

3.2 BBC News

We have decided to study cases of using Perfect not only in podcasts but also in several issues of BBC News. The idea was to compare a range of using Perfect in media with those in pieces of literature. Here are some of the following examples.

Oklahoma window cleaners rescued from swinging lift

Two window cleaners have been rescued from a metal basket which was swinging out of control near the top of a 50-storey building in Oklahoma” [7]

“Iran nuclear deal: European powers reject 'ultimatums'
European powers
have said they remain committed to the Iran nuclear deal but that they "reject any ultimatums" from Tehran to prevent its collapse. Iran's economy is now sliding towards a deep recession, the value of its currency has dropped to record lows, and its annual inflation rate has quadrupled. "We strongly urge Iran to continue to implement its commitments under the JCPOA in full as it has done until now and to refrain from any escalatory steps," a joint statement issued on Thursday said.”


In conclusion we would like to overview the work we have done in this paper and to sum up some results.

As we have mentioned in the first chapter, devoted to analyzing Present perfect in theoretical sources, it is used in different cases described earlier.

In the chapters two and three we studied and analyzed particular examples of using perfect tense in different pieces of modern literature in different genres and different mass media sources.

We have discovered that in scientific popular literature and Present perfect is used I limited cases, mostly to introduce personal experience, whereas in fictional literature it is used in dialogs to make them more vivid and to structure the sequences of events.

While studying mass media sources we noticed that on the news perfect is mostly used in passive voice to distant the narrator from the participants of the events and to make them sound more formal. At the same time structures used in podcasts are very similar to the fictional literature as one of the main aims is to make the audience involved and interested in the context.

Books, Monographs, periodicals

Michael Swan, Practical English Usage.
– M.: Oxford University Press, 2004

Michael Vince, Macmillan English Grammar.
- M.: Macmillann Publishers Limited, 2008

Mark Foley & Diane Hall, Advanced Learners` Grammar.
- M.: Pearson education Limited, 2005

Kate Fox, Watching the English.
- M.: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 2014

James Bowen, A Street Cat Named Bob
- M.: Hodder &Stoughton Ltd, 2012

Dictionaries and Encyclopedias


Electronic References

Oklahoma window cleaners rescued from swinging lift
[электронный ресурс]// BBC news 2019
режим доступа:

Iran nuclear deal: European powers reject 'ultimatums'
[электронный ресурс] // BBC news 2019
режим доступа:

Evolution and anxiety [электронный ресурс] // 6 Minutes English. Podcast 2019 N 190502. Режим доступа:

To have a soft spot (for something or somebody) [электронный ресурс] // 6 Minutes English. Podcast 2019 N 190425. Режим доступа:

Can we trust a smart speaker? [электронный ресурс] // 6 Minutes English. Podcast 2019 N 190509. Режим доступа:

Rabbits [электронный ресурс] // 6 Minutes English. Podcast 2019 N 190418. Режим доступа:

13. Giant Killer [электронный ресурс] // 6 Minutes English. Podcast 2019 N 190411. Режим доступа: