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Learn All About Perfect Tenses in English

Perfect Tenses

The perfect tenses generally focus on how a past action affects the present. For example “I have already eaten”, the hint is that the speaker is not hungry. 

Present perfect tense


Present perfect is used for something that happened before now at a specific time. The structure of the present perfect: 

  • Has, have + Past Participle

It is not used with a specific time (yesterday, last week, at the present moment, when I was young) but can be used with indefinite time expressions (never, ever, before, many times, already).

For examples:
  • I have seen that movie twenty times.
  • People have traveled to the Moon.
  • Nobody has ever climbed that mountain.

Past perfect tense


The past perfect is used to indicate that something happened before something happened in the past.

The structure of the present perfect:
  • Had + Past Participle

For examples:
  • You had studied English before you moved to New York.
  • I had never seen such a beautiful beach before I went to Dubai.
  • Had Sara ever studied English before she moved to Dubai?
  • You had not studied English before you moved to the College.

Future perfect tense


The future perfect is used to do something that happened before something else, but in the future or something that will happen before a period of time. 

The structure of the present perfect:

  • Will have + Past Participle 
  • Am/is/are + going to have + Past Participle

For example:
  • You are going to have perfected your English by the time you come back from the U.S.
  • By next November, I will have received my promotion.
  • By the time he gets home, she is going to have cleaned the entire house.
  • After two days, she will have finished the exam.

See: Simple Tenses in the English Language
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