What are perfect tenses?
Perfect tenses are used to show an action that has been completed. There are three different perfect tenses and each are used to express things in a different way.
Past Perfect Tense
I had already finished my homework before I bought the tickets.
We use the past perfect to express an action that was completed before another event in the past. In the above example, both events happened in the past. First the homework was completed, after this the tickets were bought.
[had] + [past participle (finished)]
Present Perfect Tense
Oh no! I have lost my ticket!
We use the present perfect tense to express an action that was completed and now impacts the present. In the above example, the losing of the ticket was done in the past but we are taking about its relevance to the present situation.
[have] + [past participle (lost)]
Future Perfect Tense
I will have seen this band 5 times after the next concert!
We use the future perfect tense to express an action that will be completed in the future. In the example above the concert will take place in the future. After this the completed action (having seen the band) will then take place.
[have] + [past participle (seen)]
Perfect Tenses Quiz
Time to test your perfect tense skills!
Perfect Tenses Practice
Create your own sentences for these situations. You must use a perfect tense, remember to use the past participle of the verb.
- You visited a friend in Germany and learned the language before you went.
- You will soon watch the last episode of the season (TV series). After this you can watch the latest season with your friend.
- You couldn’t speak English very well before. You are talking to a friend you haven’t seen in a while and they are surprised that your speaking has improved.