Present Perfect, Past Perfect and Future Perfect Verb Tenses

The present perfect verb tense refers to something that was just completed in the recent past. For example, “I have just finished writing my essay.” Present perfect can also be used to describe something that happened in the past but is still occurring. For example, “Daniel has worked for Exxon for the past 12 years.” Past perfect refers to how two things that have already happened relate. For example, “Before he went home from work, Eric stopped by the store.” Future perfect tense refers to something that will be completed before a future time. For example, “I will write my essay before next Friday.”


Present Perfect, Past Perfect and Future Perfect Verb Tenses
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Present Perfect, Past Perfect and Future Perfect Verb Tenses


There are three verb tenses that I want to take a look at. Those verb tenses are present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect. The present perfect is used to emphasize the completion of an action in the very recent past. Here’s an example: “I have just purchased a necklace.” This is something that was completed in the very recent past.


It was just completed. The person just purchased a necklace. The present perfect can also be used to indicate an action begun in the past and continued to the present moment. Here’s an example of that: Sam has lived in the same house for ten years.” This is talking about something that is happening now and may have happened for a long time, but the reason we’re still calling it the “present” perfect is because it’s coming up all the way to the present.


Then, we have the past perfect, which indicates how two finished actions are related in time. The example here is: “Before he went blind, Milton had written ‘Paradise Lost’.” We’re looking at two actions here, Milton going blind and Milton writing “Paradise Lost”. Both of these are finished actions.


This sentence is showing that Milton wrote “Paradise Lost” before he went blind. The first completed action is using the past perfect, while the second action is using the simple past. Then, we come to future perfect, which indicates an action to be finished before a future time. The example for that is: “I will have finished the book before I take the exam.” This is an action that has not happened yet but is it going to eventually be finished.


The sentence is telling the reader before what event that action is going to be completed. See, the writer is saying they’re going to finish the book before the event of taking the exam. That’s a look at present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect verb tenses.



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Last updated: 07/17/2018

 

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