ENGLISH RESOURCE

Tense-Aspect Combinations— Perfect and Perfect Progressive

MATERIAL:

PRESENT PERFECT

Present perfect is used for events that began in the past and continue into the present, or events that were completed in the past, but could still affect the present.

USE

EXAMPLE

An event that began at a prior point and continues to the present.

The store has been open since 1969. (The store is still open today.)

An action that occurred in the past but affects the present.

I have already seen this movie.

An action that took place over a long period of time in the past with current relevance.

The value of the car has surely decreased.

With verbs in subordinate clauses in different time.

If you have done your homework, you can watch TV. (used here with simple present)


PAST PERFECT

The past perfect is used for events completed before another event in the past. This form is rarely used in conversational English.

USE

EXAMPLE

An action completed in the past before a different past action.

He had already left before I could get a picture of him.

Imaginative conditional in the subordinate clause.

If I had tried harder, I might have gotten the job.


FUTURE PERFECT

The future perfect form is used to describe a future event that will be completed before another point in the future. This form is rarely used in conversational English.

USE

EXAMPLE

A future action that will be completed before a specific future time.

I will have finished my thesis by the end of this year.

A state or accomplishment that will be completed in the future prior to some other future time or event.

At the end of summer, they will have been together for five years.


PRESENT PERFECT PROGRESSIVE

The present perfect progressive should be used for events that were in progress in the past (shows for how long) until the present, or events that were in progress in the past and continue into the present. The pronoun and ‘have’ are often contracted.

USE EXAMPLE
Event which began in past and continues in the present. They’ve been going out for months. (They’re currently dating.)
An action in progress that is not yet completed. I’ve been reading this book. (I haven’t finished the book.)
A state that changes over time. My grades have been getting better and better.

PAST PERFECT PROGRESSIVE

The past perfect progressive should be used for events that were in progress in the past before another event in the past. This form is not often used in conversational English.

USE EXAMPLE
An action taking place over time in past prior to other past event. She had been gaining so much weight that she had to start a diet. 
A past action in progress that was interrupted by a more recent past action. We had been planning to go to Paris, but changed our minds and decided to go to London instead.
An ongoing past action that becomes satisfied by some other event. I had been wanting to go to the concert, so I was so happy when he bought me the tickets. 


FUTURE PERFECT PROGRESSIVE

The future perfect progressive should be used for events that will be in progress before another point in the future. This form is rarely used in conversational English.

USE EXAMPLE
Habitual action that is taking place in the present and will continue into the future. He will have been working at the mall for three years this March. 

Sources

  • Straus, J., Kaufman, L., & Stern, T. (2014). The blue book of grammar and punctuation: An easy-to-use guide with clear rules, real-world examples, and reproducible quizzes. John Wiley & Sons.
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