Yes! I’ve done it! I’ve started the third month of my blog! Woo, go me! This week we’re looking at the present perfect simple TO SHOW OFF!
There are two reasons to use the present perfect simple
- To say “how long” something has happened for, (Something that starts in the past and continues to the present) for example: “I have lived in Zürich for 12 years”.
- To show off, for example: “I have started the third month of my blog.”
There are different ways to show off using the present perfect simple:
- Attention seeking: I’ve hurt my finger! I’ve broken up with my boyfriend. You’ve run over my foot with your car!
- Talking about achievements, (Look at me, aren’t I clever, fit etc…) for example: “I’ve just passed my driving test!”, “I’ve climbed Mount Everest! or “I’ve hoovered the floor, washed the dishes, made the dinner, fed the cat and put the bins out!”
- Talking about life experiences (when you don’t mention a time in the past): I’ve seen the milky way in Tanzania. My Dad’s met DJ Bobo. I’ve eaten crocodile flavoured crisps. I’ve seen a film in 4XD.
In these cases, by using the present perfect simple, (have/has + past participle) you are directing the listener to the present result of the completed action (what you, or others, have done or what has happened). You want the person you are talking to to be aware of the current situation. As always, here present perfect is making a connection between the present and the past.
In the film of The Lord of the Rings, Merry says “I think I’ve broken something” to make Frodo aware that he has a problem and needs help. Have a look!
Classic attention seeking grammar! The present perfect here, “have broken”, is used to make Frodo (or insert Hobbit name here) think, “Argh present perfect, what is the present result of this break? Do I have to carry the little ***** all the way to Mordor now”.
In the next video POTUS Donald Trump uses the “present perfect simple to show off” like a Boss. Everything’s great! He’s great, the economy’s great!!! He’s talking about his achievements. The connection with the present time (when Trump is in power) shown by the present perfect, makes clear that it’s all due to him and his minions. (The video is copyrighted by Bloomberg, so you’ll have watch it on the YouTube site, I’m afraid. It’s worth it!)
Here are some highlights:
“We have launched an economic boom. A boom that has rarely been seen before. There‘s been nothing like it!” “We have created 5.3 Million new jobs” “Unemployment has reached its lowest rate in over half a century”
In fact, he also uses the present continuous after this so that we really hear the present results of these achievements:
“Wages are rising at the fastest pace in decades”
“The US economy is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office.”
So what about showing off about life experiences. Let’s ask these fine sailors…
“That’s got to be the best pirate I’ve ever seen!”
“I’ve ever seen” means, of course “I’ve seen in my whole lifetime”. If you are alive, which you probably are if you’re reading this, your lifetime is a present time, therefore you use present perfect when talking about experiences in your lifetime.
Here are some things I’ve done in my lifetime that I like to show off about:
- I‘ve been to Norway
- I‘ve never been to America
- I‘ve drunk a Guinness, or two, in Ireland
- I’ve shaken the hand of someone who has shaken the hand of someone who has shaken Snoop Dog’s hand.
- I‘ve met the man who wrote the theme tune to Mr Bean, twice.
Watch out! As soon as you add expressions of past time to experiences, or suggest past time (for example last week, when I was 16, before I moved here etc…) you need to use the past simple. For example, “I went to India when I was 26.” I have a Quizlet about past and present time phrases here and another with some simple exercises with present perfect and past simple here in case you are unsure.
Oh! I guess there will have to be a part two. In part two of “using present perfect simple” I’ll write about:
- How death changes everything (grammatically speaking)
- Why the Americans have their own rules
- Why newspaper headlines have their own rules
- Why you shouldn’t get too specific
- The answers to any questions you have
Please leave a comment, a question, a like, a follow, book a lesson or translation or just Netflix and chill -I can highly recommend “Better call Saul”
See you next week for some more present perfect simple.
Take care out there!
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