Perfect Tenses: Summary and Quiz

Written by Leny Ortega

In the previous posts, I have summarized the simple tenses. In this post, we summarize the perfect tenses. Review exercises are provided below to assess your mastery of the lesson.

Perfect tenses have three types: Present perfect, Past perfect and future perfect.

The present perfect tense denotes actions that began in the past and continues up to the present time. It is also used to suggest events that happened at unspecific time before now. Has (singular) and have (plural) + past participle of the given verb are used to form the present perfect tense.

The past perfect tense of the verb is formed with Had (for singular and plural noun)+ past participle of the verb. This tense of the verb is used to express an action that happened before another past action occurred. Always remember that the second past action must use the simple past tense of the verb.

Similarly, for the future perfect tense two actions/events are required here. But, these actions are intended to be completed in the future. Expressions such as by tomorrow, by next year, ten years from now, etc. are commonly used plus the future perfect tense (will have + past participle). This is to suggest that the action is completed before a certain time.

Practice Quiz

Choose the correct form of the perfect tense for each of the following sentences.

1.) Ebola virus (has, have) spread in countries like Africa.

2.) The reinforcement team (arrived, had arrived) after the forty-four Special Action force members (has died, had died) in the encounter.

3.) The country (will have experienced, will experience) drought before the summer comes next year.

5.) The government of China (expressed, has expressed) its desire to end the territorial row with the Philippines.

6) Melinda (will have become, had become) a lawyer before her mother retires.
World Health Organization (WHO) (warned, had warned) the public about the MERS-COV before it became widespread.

7.) The government (ordered, has ordered) recall of a certain brand of apples in the market because of its toxic contamination.

8.) Food and Drug Administration (has advised, have advised) the public against the proliferation of untested diet pills in the market.

9.) The US government (has tested, had tested) all its local produce before it reached the market.

10.) Two years from now, Melinda (will have been, will become) a licensed physical therapist.

Answer key

  1. Has
  2. Arrived, had died
  3. Will have experienced
  4. Has experienced
  5. Will have become
  6. Had warned
  7. Has ordered
  8. Has advised
  9. Had tested
  10. Will have been

Grammar Rules: Present Perfect Tense

Written by Leny Ortega
Like simple tenses, perfect or sometimes called compound tenses have three categories namely: Present Perfect, Past Perfect, and Future Perfect. Each of these has a corresponding usage depending on the time of action is completed or intended to be done.

PRESENT PERFECT TENSE

Present Perfect Tense is used to express an action happened at an unspecific time before now. The exact time is not important.  Unlike the simple past tense, the action is done at a particular time. Hence, time expression such as yesterday, last month, etc. must be stated. The only time expressions accepted in this tense are: ever, never, once, many times, several times, before, so far, already, yet, etc.

FORM: for singular subject =Has + past participle of the given verb
                For plural subject   = Have + past participle of the given verb
***

Example 1: I have seen the movie Serendipity more than ten times.
Present perfect tense is also used to talk about change that has happened over a period of time.

Example 2: My English has improved since I migrated to America.
We also use the present perfect tense of the verb to tell an action that began in the past but continues up to the present.

Example 3: I have been in Japan since October.

Exercise: Choose the correct form of the present perfect tense in the following sentences.

  1. My friend Claire (has been, have been, was) in England for six months.
  2. Many policemen (have died, has died, died) in the Mindanao siege.
  3. The army (has attacked, have attacked, attacked) that city five times.
  4. The principal (has been, have been, was) in the meeting since this morning.
  5. The baby (has grown, have grown, grew) so fast!

Answer:

1.) The correct answer to this number is Has been for the following reasons: first, the subject, Claire is singular that is why we use HAS not HAVE. Second, the exact time she moved to England was not stated. But, the action began six months ago and until now she is still in England.

2.) The answer here is Have died. The subject is plural (policemen) therefore, have must be used together with the past participle of the verb die. We cannot use the simple past tense here (died) because the specific time is not mentioned.

3.) The answer is has attacked. Again, there is no specific time when the attacked happened. But the idea here is that from the first time the city was attacked until now it happened only six times.

4.) The correct answer is Has been. The subject (principal) is singular so, has been is used. This sentence means that the meeting started in the morning until the time of speaking the meeting is still on-going.

5.) The sentence tells us that the change happened for a period of time (but unspecified).

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