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Present Perfect: Affirmative,
Negative & Interrogative Structures


Indra (2016) China, Tradition, Beijing, Asia. Taken from http://bit.ly/2milxr8

Have you ever traveled to other countries? There are many people who travel to other countries to learn more about their culture and traditions. A good idea to experience this is by participating on their celebrations and festivities.

One way to speak about the social, cultural and family experiences we have in life is the verb tense present perfect in its three types of structure: affirmative, negative and interrogative. In this unit we will review the structure of the present perfect and the way to construct the 3 types of sentences.

In order to familiarize yourself with this verb tense, read the following information, it is an example of how to express the perfect present when narrating past experiences that connect with the present.

In the 21st century motorized transportation has replaced traditional boats in Venice and rowing has lost its popularity amongst the younger generation. However, a group of native Venetians are concerned the art of rowing is dying out, so they have started a collection of old boats and nautical artifacts abandoned around the city in order to fix them and use them to attract more people to practice this old art.

The above paragraph is an excerpt from the following video.

Observe it so that you identify phrases in perfect present.

National Geographic (2014) The Venetian Art of Rowing | National Geographic. [Video] Consulted February 12, 2017 from http://bit.ly/2mip5tw


At the end of this topic you will:
º Make affirmative, negative and interrogative sentences in the present perfect simple using the corresponding auxiliaries: have or has in order to speak about past experiences in social, cultural and family contexts.

Present perfect

We use the present perfect simple to talk about your experiences. How? The perfect present allows us to express experiences that happened in the past or at a specific time and which are important in the present.

For the present perfect simple in its affirmative, negative and interrogative form, we will use the auxiliaries have and has in the following way:

In addition to the auxiliary verbs, the present perfect use the past participle of regular verbs with the ending ed and irregular verbs which are very different among each other.

Look at the examples below. Click on each tab to review the construction of these sentences.

Subject Auxiliary Verb in past participle Complement
  • I
  • You
  • He
  • She
  • We
  • They


  • have
  • has





For example:

I have visited China for their New Year’s celebration.

Subject Auxiliary Verb in past participle Complement
  • I
  • You
  • He
  • She
  • We
  • They


  • haven't
  • hasn't





For example:

I haven’t visited China for their New Year’s celebration.

Question word Auxiliary (affirmative or negative) Subject Verb in past participle Complement ?
  • When
  • Why
  • Where
  • How often


  • haven't
  • hasn't


  • I
  • You
  • He
  • She
  • We
  • They






For example:

When have you visited China?

But! That’s not all! There are many more uses for the Present Perfect Simple. Let’s take a look at them so you can use this tense in other contexts. Click on each tab to review the information.

Cold for 2 weeks

StockSnap (s.f) Snow Taken from https://pixabay.com/es/snow-invierno-blanco-fr%C3%ADo-clima-2589046/

Connecting Past and Present

The present simple is used to talk about actions that started in the past and are still going on in the present.

For example: I have had a cold for two weeks. I’m still sick.

This morning

(s.a)(s.f) Wake up Taken from: https://www.finerminds.com/health-fitness/not-a-morning-person-this-yoga-series-will-get-you-out-of-bed/

Recent Past Actions

It also makes reference to events which have recently occurred.

For example: She has just had a baby; they just came from the hospital this morning.

 I think I’ve met him before

(s.a.) (s.f) Family Taken from: https://www.airforcemedicine.af.mil/MTF/Buckley/News-Events/Article/1527556/novak-family-becomes-the-one-percent/

The present simple describes unspecified actions finished before now.

For example: I think I have met him once before.

Notice: the contrast with Simple Past which refers to Specific past actions.

Friendly Mexicans

quinntheislander (s.f.) Latin Family Taken from: https://pixabay.com/es/latino-familia-latina-hispanos-2569583/

This structure is used to express with a superlative to talk about experience.

For example: Mexico is the friendliest place Martin has ever visited.

Snake soup

Vuong Tri Binh, 2014 snake Soup Taken from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Snake_soup_prepared_in_Hanoi_2.jpg

Ever! When the specific time is unknown or unimportant.

For example: This is the first time I've ever eaten snake soup.

Never! not having the experience before.

For example: Have you ever been abroad? No, I've never been abroad.


Activity 1

Celebrate the World!

→ What is your favorite holiday of the year?

→ Do you know of other holidays / celebrations around the world?

Some holidays and celebrations are different from country to country, they vary from culture to culture. There are many people who like to travel around the world in order to experience holidays in different ways and to learn more from other cultures.

Read the following text. In it you will find information about some festivities in different countries. Pay attention and identify the phrases in present perfect.


Activity 2

The best vacation I have ever had

Vacation periods are often connected to holidays or special celebrations each country has. What’s your favorite holiday? What do you usually do during this time? Where do you spend this celebration? Who do you spend it with?

Write a postcard of about 80 words describing the best holiday you have ever had using the present prefect. Follow the guidelines below:

  • → What has been your best holiday?
  • → Where did you spend this celebration?
  • → What did you do during this time?
  • → Who did you spend it with?

Remember that postcards, just like letters, must have a salutation such as Dear friend, Hi Maria!, etc and a farewell, like: See you soon! Regards, etcetera.

Now, take a look at the rubric that you will use to get your score when you finish your writing.


Dear Gerardo:

I wanted to give you a postcard because I’ve just remembered our trip to Puerto Vallarta. That has been one of the best holidays I’ve had. I remember Damian, you and I stayed at a very nice hotel where we could see whales. It was whale-watching season, remember? We visited the Malecón in the evenings and we had the best time together. Hope we get to do that again soon!




Activity 3

A glass half full or half empty?

Every person is different; some see life as a glass half full and others as a glass half empty. This means that some people are positive about their experiences in life and some others are rather negative.

Listen to the following audio, you will hear a conversation between two men using present perfect. You can listen to it as many times as you need before performing the exercise. When you are ready, write the present perfect in the blank space in the text that you have identified in the audio. You can only do the exercise once. When you finish, check your results.


Activity 4.

What about you?

What do you usually do on your vacations? Do you spend your vacations outside the city?

Now that you have reviewed and practiced the perfect present in its affirmative, negative and interrogative forms, you will practice your speaking ability when narrating information related to your travels

Read the following questions and write the answers in a word document in a maximum of 200 words or 5 minutes. When you finish, record your writing in the free application vocaroo.com .Once the recording is finished, listen to it carefully. Please try to remark and pronounce the present perfect because your grade will depend on that.

Listen to the example here.

When you finish, use the following rubric to get your score.

  1. Have you ever traveled to the place of your dreams? Where is it?
  2. What’s the most interesting vacation you have ever taken?
  3. Have you ever had a horrible vacation time?
  4. Have you ever traveled by plane/train/ship?
  5. Have you ever taken a long vacation? How long?
  6. Have you ever met any interesting people while on vacation?
  7. What is the most exotic or strangest thing you have ever eaten on vacation?
  8. Have you ever run out of money when you are on vacations?
  9. Have you ever been mugged while on vacation?
  10. Have you ever thought of giving up your vacation due to unavoidable reasons?