March 19

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How to Use the Present Perfect Simple Correctly Part 2 (with Personal Example Sentences)- Podcast

Hi everyone, you’re listening to Cambridge Exam Coach, a podcast for people who want to improve their English. I’m Kristian, your host, and in this episode we’re talking about the Present Perfect Simple.

This is the second episode about this very special tense. Before we begin, let me just remind you that you can read the transcript on my website. And even more important, if you haven’t listened to the first part of this series about present perfect simple yet, I highly recommend that you pause this podcast and start listening to the first part. Because part 2 continues where we ended part 1.  Sounds logical, right?   

OK, let’s get going.

In the first part we talked about how to use the present perfect simple in three different situations. Today we’re talking about how to use this tense in four other ways.

But first, let’s repeat the main thing you should remember before anything else: the present perfect describes the present in some way, usually with reference to past actions and events. But it always describes the present. Not the past.

OK, now that that’s clear, let’s continue with situation number 4 in which we use the present perfect simple:

4. You can describe past actions which are still happening now 

I’ve lived in Prague for 30 months.

I’ve done 12 C2 exam practice classes on Clubhouse in the past 4 weeks.

(You can also use the present perfect continuous in these examples, but I’m going to talk about this topic in a future episode)

5. You can describe very recent actions with the PPS

I’ve just seen a student of mine in the supermarket. 

Unfortunately your teacher is not in school yet, I have just checked. (Imagine that your teacher is late)

6. You can describe “Unfinished time periods” with the PPS

What exactly are unfinished time periods? These are expressions such as: “your whole life, this morning, today, this year, so far”.

Here are some examples:

I haven’t done anything today at work. (It’s still today and now I have to stay longer in the office). 

I’ve taught three students this morning (and it’s still morning and now I need to rest a bit because I’m tired)

I’ve seen no rain at all this month (and it’s still this month and now the plants and trees are in trouble)

I’ve released 2 podcast episodes this month (and it’s still this month and now I’m starting to work on the 3rd one.)

OK, you got that? That’s what we call “Unfinished time periods”.

7. You can also use the present perfect simple with other time expressions

There are also other time expressions: just, already, yet, ever, never, still, the first time, always, for, since. These are often used with the present perfect simple, but not always. For example: I’ve lived in London for 2 years versus I lived in London for 2 years.

What’s the difference?

I’ve lived in London for 2 years and I still live there. 

I lived in London for 2 years, then I lived in Rotterdam and now I live in Prague.

Now, I’ve got many examples for these time expressions, but I don’t want to go through them in this episode, because it would take too long. I will do that in another episode.

So, here’s a summary of the seven different situations in which you can use the present perfect simple:

  1. You describe a past action with present effect
  2. You describe a life experience
  3. You describe “How many times?”
  4. You can describe past actions which are still happening now
  5. You can describe very recent actions with the PPS
  6. You can describe “Unfinished time periods”
  7. You can use the present perfect simple with other time expressions

Now it’s time for you to start practicing. You can listen to this episode again and pause the podcast to write down your own examples.

And if you didn’t catch everything, just go through the transcript on my website and listen to this again while reading at the same time.

Remember, repetition is one of the key elements to improving your English skills.

All right, that’s it. There’s nothing left to say today except that I hope you take care of yourself, and each other! Especially in these times. 

You’ve been listening to Cambridge Exam Coach. For more information, visit cambridgeexamcoach.com.

About the author 

Kristian

Kristian is from The Netherlands, but he lives in Prague, Czechia. He is a CELTA qualified teacher who passed the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam with grade A. When he's not working, he likes to chill out with music, podcasts or an audiobook.


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