Hey there, I’m Mark and welcome to the second episode of the E2 English podcast. 

Each week we focus on either pronunciation, vocabulary, or grammar. 

Today we’re going to practise grammar. I’m going to explain all you need to know about a particular verb tense called the 


Have you been to China? Have you seen the latest Star Wars movie? Have you ever gone rock-climbing?  have you, have you, have you? 

This is the present perfect. We use it to talk about recent events and experiences.

The present perfect is the third most common verb tense in English. We use it a lot! It’s super important to be able to understand and to use when speaking. And, like all the other verbs, it has quite a few different meanings and quite a few different ways that it can change. Because that’s what English verbs do. They change a lot.

In this podcast, I’m going to talk to you about four different ways we can use the present perfect – or four different meanings.

Let’s start by asking Jay a few questions about EXPERIENCE.

M: Hi Jay.

J: Hi Mark.

M: Jay, have you ever seen a Leonardo DaVinci painting?

J: No. I’ve never seen one of his paintings. Why? Have you?

M: I have. Jay, have you ever been in love?

J: Been in love? I have. 

M: You have?

J: I have. I’ve been in love many times!

So here I asked Jay a number of questions using the present perfect to find out about his experiences: Have you? Have you ever? And Jay responded to my questions using: Yes, I have or No, I haven’t, or I’ve never. Did you hear that? This was all about experience.

Let’s now ask Jay some questions using the present perfect to find out about change over time. Ready?

M: Hi Jay.

J: Hi Mark.

M: Jay, have you grown since the last time I saw you?

J: Have I? I don’t think so. I’m still the same height.

M: Have you gotten a little fatter?

J: I probably have. I’ve been eating quite a bit of chocolate.

M: Are you still studying French? 

J: I am.

M: How’s that. Has your French improved since we last spoke?

J: It has improved. I’ve improved quite a bit.

Here, I was asking Jay questions using the present perfect verb tense to find out about something that has changed over time. I asked him about his height – Have you become taller? I asked him about his weight. Have you gotten fatter? And I asked him about his French skills. Have you improved? Could you hear how my questions and Jay’s answers referred to change happening over time? 

Let’s now look at the third way of using the present perfect: accomplishments or achievements.

M: Hi Jay.

J: Hey Mark.

M: Hey, Jay, have you finished reading Sapiens yet?

J: I have! I finished it last night.

M Great! Well done. Can I ask you another question about accomplishments?

J: Sure.

M: Have you done your taxes?

J: Um… I haven’t.

Here, I asked Jay questions about things he has achieved – or not – using the present perfect. So I can ask: Have you? To find out about achievements or accomplishments, about whether something is completed or not.

Okay, let’s listen to the final use. This time I’m going to ask Jay some common questions to find out about HOW LONG he has been doing something. This is a really common question when talking about work or study or living somewhere.


M: Hey Jay, how long have you lived in Melbourne?

J: I’ve lived in Melbourne for about 10 years.

M: How long have you worked at E2?

J: I’ve worked here since 2012.

Did you notice that Jay answered with two important key words: FOR and SINCE.

He said: I’ve lived in Melbourne FOR about 10 years.

And then he said: I’ve worked here SINCE 2012.

So we use FOR to show a length of time and we use since to show a particular year.

Okay, great! So we learned today that we can use the present perfect to talk about:

Experiences – have you ever been to China?

Achievements or accomplishments – have you graduated from college?

Change over time – have you put on weight?

And how long – how long have you lived or worked here?

I hope that was helpful. Remember to subscribe to this podcast and if you need any help with your English grammar remember to check out E2 English by going to

My name’s Mark and I’ll see you soon.


make – collocations