Use present perfect tense for "experiences"

Monday, January 6, 2014

The present perfect tense is one way to talk about the past and it's a challenge to learn because it has several functions. The key is to associate the present perfect with unspecified time; it is NOT used to describe a specific event.

One example of unspecified time is "experience". It is like saying, "I have the experience of..." You can also use this tense to say that you have never had a certain experience.


- I have been to Ireland.
(This sentence means that you have had the experience of being in Ireland. Maybe you have been there once, or several times.)
- I have been to Ireland four times.
(You can add the number of times at the end of the sentence.)
- I have never been to Ireland.
(This sentence means that you have not had the experience of going to Ireland.)

- Greg has seen that movie before. (We don't know when.)
- I have never eaten caviar. (I have never had the experience of tasting caviar.)
- Darla has never ridden a horse. (Darla doesn't know what it is like to ride a horse.)

Examples of unspecified time expressions that use the present perfect include ever, never, once, many times, several times, before, so far, already, yet, etc. When you use specific time expressions (yesterday, last year, when I was a child, when I lived in London, etc.) you must use the simple past.

What are some of your experiences?

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