Games and activities to practice the Present Perfect tense

Summary: Fun activities for the different present + past meanings of have + Present Perfect

This article gives a brief overview of some of the most fun practice activities for the related different meanings of has/ have + past participle.


I’ve been unique mingling game

Students have to go around the class asking a “Have you ever…?” question to everyone else to find something they have done and no one else in the class has, e.g. “Have you ever eaten snake?” If anyone else says “Yes, I have”, they have to think of a new idea and start asking everyone all over again. If they think that they have asked everyone and those people have all said “No, I haven’t”, they can score a point and sit down. When you stop the game, ask the students who are sitting down what they think that they have done that no one else has and check if it’s true by asking the whole class.


Where have I been? Where am I now?

Photocopy and hand out one map per pair of students. It can be a map of the world, a country, a region, etc. Ask students to draw a circular route to see the whole of the place shown on the map, e.g. an around-the-world backpacker’s tour. They should then mark one random place somewhere in the middle of the tour. This is where they are now.

Put the pairs together in groups of four. The aim of each team is find where the other team is now by asking “Have you already been to…?” questions, without looking at the other team’s map. The other team must answer each question with “Yes, we have”, “No, we haven’t, but we are planning on going there” or “No, we haven’t, and we aren’t planning on going there”. They can also provide more information like “Yes, we have. We went there a long time ago.” or “No, we haven’t been there yet but we are going there fairly soon” if they like. The first team to successfully guess the other team’s position now is the winner.

You can then discuss which places students chose for their tour and why, if anyone has ever been to any of those places and agrees that they are worth visiting, and/ or if anyone has any plans to really visit any.


I’ve never had a job interview

Give out roleplay cards with a different sentence saying why someone might be unemployable written in the Present Perfect on each one, e.g. “You have never used a computer” or “You are 23 years old and you have already had 15 jobs”. Students interview each other for jobs, trying to think of the right question to find out their partner’s secret problem. Students cannot lie about the problem on their card, but they can try and avoid the question. For any other questions they can give real answers about themselves or use their imaginations as they wish.

After a set time limit, stop them and discuss as a class whether the students who were the interviewers would give the interviewees the job and why. Then ask the interviewees to reveal their problems and ask the interviewers if they have changed their minds now that they know the problem or not.

As an extension, you could do one more round with role cards made up by the students.


Three strikes and you’re a liar

Students ask their partners a Yes/ No “Have you ever…?” question, e.g. “Have you ever been to Mongolia?” Their partner must answer “Yes, I have” even if it’s not true. Their partner can then ask questions about the details like “When did you go to Mongolia?”, “What kind of food did you eat?” and “What was the weather like?”, with the other person continuing to lie or continuing to tell the truth. The questioner should then guess whether the original “Yes, I have” answer was true or false.

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