Teaching the Present Perfect

Let’s start with a short review of the posts concerning the verb.

We have finished the Cycle of the Present and the Cycle of the Past.

We have studied the Cycle of the Present:

Present Simple

Present Progressive

Future Simple

We have also studied the Cycle of the Past:

Past Simple

Past Progressive

Future Past

We have reviewed the Basic Verbs:




It’s time to move to the Perfect Tenses.

Today we will start with the Present Perfect.

The Present Perfect is a problematic tense because there is no parallel tense in Hebrew. Actually, the name is misleading. Present Perfect is not a present and it is not perfect either…

Let’s start with the structure:


I have worked hard this month and my sister has worked hard too.

Remember: the third form of the verb is the same as the second form (Past Simple) regarding Regular Verbs, but it is different when we refer to Irregular Verbs

     Who has broken the window?

     The Cohens haven’t left yet.

     Mother has been away all day long.

     Have you done your homework?

I have had a wonderful day.  (The Present Perfect of the verb Have may seem confusing since the first have functions as a helping verb and the second have functions as the main verb.

And now we come to the main question:

When do we use the Present Perfect?

1. When the action happened in the Past, but we don’t know when.

e.g. I am not interested in seeing this movie. I have already seen it. Actually, I saw it on Monday.

It is important to stress the difference between the Past Simple and the Present Perfect. In both cases the action happened in the Past. If there is an answer to the question when the action happened, we will use the Past Simple. If we don’t know when the action took place, we will use the Present Perfect.

2. When the action happened a short time ago, usually with the words:

just, recently, lately, this week, this month, already, yet, etc.

e.g. They are not here. They have just left.

       The Cohens have recently moved to Jerusalem.

That’s all for today.

For further details, please see:

דקדוק אנגלי לדוברי עברית, עמ’ 56-59

For practice, please see:

The New Language Guidebook and Workbook, p 42-45.

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