Common Present Perfect Errors and How to Fix them

by , under Grammar

The Present Perfect tense is a challenge for many learners. If your first language doesn’t have a tense analogous to it, perfect tenses can seem mysterious and unnecessary. Nevertheless, there is a logic to the Present Perfect that is easy to understand.

Look at the following common errors, their corrections, and the explanation that follows. You will see that the Present Perfect is not so difficult as you might have thought.

In the past few years…

INCORRECT:  In the past few years, there was a great deal of controversy surrounding soy.
CORRECT:  In the past few years, there has been a great deal of controversy surrounding soy.

Explanation:  Use the Present Perfect to refer to an action during the time leading up the present. The keywords “In the past few years” indicates a time leading up to and including the present.

Since then…

INCORRECT:  Since then we hold a tournament each year.
CORRECT:  Since then we hold a tournament each year.

INCORRECT:  Also, she decided to become Japanese teacher since then.
CORRECT:  Also, she has decided to become Japanese teacher since then.

Explanation:   Use the Present Perfect to talk about an activity that started in the past and continues into the present. The keywords “since then” indicates a time leading up to and including the present.

Since 2013…

INCORRECT:  I am in Canada since 2013.
CORRECT:  I have been in Canada since 2013.

Explanation:   Use the Present Perfect to talk about an activity that started in the past and continues into the present. The keywords “since 2013” indicates a time leading up to and including the present.

Have you lived here since you were a child?

Since you were a child

INCORRECTDid you live here since you are a child?
CORRECT:  Have you lived here since you were a child?

Explanation:   Use the Present Perfect to ask about an activity or situation that started in the past and continues into the present. The keywords “since you were” indicates a starting point in the past that continues into the present.

I start learning Spanish (recently)

INCORRECT:  I speak French, English, and I start learning Spanish.
CORRECT:  I speak French, English, and I have started learning Spanish.

Explanation:   Use the Present Perfect to ask about an activity or situation that started in the past and continues into the present. When you talk about starting to learn a language, you mean that you started learning in the recent past and you are continuing to learn the language now.

Present Perfect Practice Activities

  1. For or Since with family
  2. For or since
  3. Present Perfect versus the Simple Past
  4. Present Perfect used when talking about pranks
  5. Present Perfect versus the Present Perfect Progressive

More online grammar practice activities…

Try this quiz on the Present Perfect and practical jokes

More examples of Present Perfect errors

  • He had a boyfriend since a met him.
  • It is already 12 years that I work for Acme.
  • I live there since I was 5 years old.
  • I live here since I was born.
  • I take dance classes since I was 5 years.
  • It’s been a while that nobody cleaned the house so that was a huge opportunity for us to clean up and decorate.
  • It‘s ten years since I am in Canada.
  • Since I was very little , I liked to create my own dresses for my barbie dolls.
  • Since the age of 12, i‘m part of a freestyle skiing team.
  • I have the same job for about two years.
  • I speak French since 19 years ago.

Copy and paste the errors listed above into the Virtual Writing Tutor grammar checker to see how to correct them.

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