AIM: To review some of the meanings/uses of the present perfect
INTRODUCTION: The present perfect simple tense is formed using have/has and the past participle of the main verb (e.g., been, gone, arrived).
She’s [= has] been unwell for three days.
The present perfect is used to link the past and the present. (It is more common in Australian English than in American English.)
Three related meanings are presented here using examples from the sexual history case. Notice the time expressions in bold, which reinforce the meaning of the questions.
Past experience occurring any time up to now; exactly when is not relevant
Have you ever had a sexually transmitted infection before?
= It doesn’t matter when, just whether this is an experience in your life so far.
Incomplete action which started in the past and is ongoing
How long have you been with your partner (for)?
= You are doing this now (i.e., living with your partner); when did you start?
(The word for is not necessary but some people use it in how long questions.)
Past action which is relevant now because it has current consequences/results
Have you had intercourse with anyone else recently?
= An event in the past is relevant to the present situation (e.g., as its cause).
INSTRUCTIONS: Drag and drop the endings from the box below so they match the appropriate question beginnings. For each question, consider which of the three meanings given above it has.