12 Tenses in English — Present Perfect
There are 12 separate English tenses, but informal conversation seldom uses all 12. Instead we stick the simple ones: Past; Present; and Future.
Today I want to talk about the PRESENT PERFECT tense.
The PRESENT PERFECT and the PAST PERFECT tenses or “times” of the verb connect the present (now) with the past.
For example, if I say,
Linda and I moved to Mexico last August.
That’s the SIMPLE PAST talking about a ONE TIME ACTION in the past.
However to find out HOW LONG someone has been living somewhere we would ask,
So Randy, how long have you lived in Mexico? (Past Perfect = HAVE + PAST PARTICIPLE)
Thus the answer would be
I have lived here (for) six months.
Simply put, this is PRESENT PERFECT = An action which
BEGAN IN THE PAST and
CONTINUES INTO THE PRESENT
PAST PERFECT involves and action which
BEGAN IN THE PAST and continued for ahile, but
ENDED IN THE PAST as well.
For example, you could ask me,
How long had you lived in Canada? (PAST PERFECT = HAD + PAST PARTICIPLE)
The answer is,
I had lived in Canada for 16 years and before that for 16 years in Perú.
The PREPOSITION “for” is used here to indicate the SPAN or AMOUNT of cumulative time and is formally used in PRESENT AND PAST PERFECT sentences to specify the amount of time. However informally it is often not used and simply the time is used “16 years”.
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