Present perfect simple
We use the present perfect simple:
To talk about states, single or repeated actions over a long period of time up to the present
(often with ever/never, often/always)
– I’ve always wanted to be an actor.
– Have you ever been to Australia?
– I’ve only used my mobile phone once since I bought it.
– She’s read that book at least ten times.
– That’s the first time I’ve ever eaten octopus.
– It’s the worst concert I’ve ever been to.
To talk about recent single actions with a present result
(often with just, already, yet)
– I’ve already seen that film and I don’t want to see it again.
– Have you finished your essay yet?
– Our friends have just arrived.
To talk about an unfinished period of time up to the present
(often with for/since, this week/month/year)
– Tomoko has lived in England for five years.
– I’ve been in love with Stella since 2002.
– I’ve loved travelling all my life.
– I’ve disliked bananas since I was a child.
– We haven’t had a holiday this year.
Present perfect continuous
We use the present perfect continuous:
To talk about a recent activity when the effects if that activity can still be seen
– Why are you out of breath?
– I’ve been running.
To emphasise how long an action has been going on for, or that is has been repeated many times
– I’ve been replaying to emails all morning.
– I’ve been cleaning the house all day.
To suggest that an activity is temporary
– I’ve been living here for five years but I’m going to move soon.
To suggest that an action is not complete
– I’ve been reading War and Peace, but I haven’t finished it yet.
Watch out! We don’t use verbs that refer to a state (e.g. be, know, love) in the continuous form.