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  1. tzfujimino's Avatar
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    #1

    Present Perfect Tense

    a.I've been to America many times.
    b.I've just finished the paper.

    Why is "have(has)" used in Present Perfect Tense in English?
    Learning the history of the English language might help me, perhaps?

    Please help me.


    • Join Date: Apr 2008
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    #2

    Re: Present Perfect Tense

    Hello,
    It's not the verb "have/has" that is used in the Pr.Perf.Tense. It's an auxiliary verb here and serves to form this Tense together with the past participle of the verb "to be-been" and the verb "to finish-finished". The Present Perfect Tense denotes an action that happened in the past with the result at present. In sentence #a you state that you visited America in the past but by the moment of speaking it turns out that you have been there a lot of times during your life.
    As for sentence #b: you finished working on your paper some time ago-so you can show it ready to be handed in, for example.
    The use of so-called "signal" words, like "just", "already", "yet", "ever', '"never" normally indicates the Pr.Perf. Tense. As well as the following phrases: "all my life", "since we last did smth", after "how long" when asking for a precise answer, as in: "How long have you known her?"

    All the best,
    Maria


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    #3

    Re: Present Perfect Tense

    I went to America.
    One visit in the past, so past tense.

    I've been to America many times.
    Over a period of time, up to this moment, you have visited several times, (and may well go again in the future.)

    b.I've just finished the paper.
    The writing/preparing of the paper extended over a period of time in the past, and brings you right up to this moment when you announce, "Just finished!"

  2. tzfujimino's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Present Perfect Tense

    Thank you.

    I know how the Present Perfect is used.
    The question is WHY "have/has" is used in the tense.

    I've found lots of definitions of "have" in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English. Among many definitions it tells us "have" is an aux v. "used with the past participle to form perfect tenses."

    "Have" has so much more definitions than I could possibly write down.
    Obviously it doesn't mean "to possess" in the Present Perfect, does it?

    I hope you can see what I'm trying to say.

    Thank you.

  3. Snowcake's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Present Perfect Tense

    I know how the Present Perfect is used.
    The question is WHY "have/has" is used in the tense.

    It is as it is. Although some grammarians might offer you a theoretical explanation for it - indeed there are a lot of linguistic researches dealing with the usage of 'have' in the Present Perfect Tense.
    I'd say it is just the way the Present Perfect Tense is formed, just to simplify it, not to undervalue the linguistic background.

    "Have" has so much more definitions than I could possibly write down.
    Obviously it doesn't mean "to possess" in the Present Perfect, does it?

    No.

    I hope you can see what I'm trying to say.
    Last edited by Snowcake; 18-Apr-2008 at 14:13.

  4. banderas's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Present Perfect Tense

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    The question is WHY "have/has" is used in the tense.

    Among many definitions it tells us "have" is an aux v. "used with the past participle to form perfect tenses."

    Thank you.
    I believe you found your answer.
    If it does not satisfy you, try to think of "have" keeping in mind its meaning as an ordinary verb. "To have" implies the meaning of possession.

    I have finished my job=present perfect
    I have (indicates possession)...what?... my job that is ...finished (adjective).
    This is a theory of one English native speaker...
    It has never really appealed to me though. I regard "have" only as an auxiliary verb in Present Perfect Tense. I suggest that you do too.
    Last edited by banderas; 18-Apr-2008 at 14:17. Reason: typo

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