Present Perfect

English grammar and usage issues

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Present Perfect

Unread postby Josh » 18 Mar 2004, 20:39

Hi there,

I'm having trouble getting my students to use the present perfect tense spontaneously. They'll use it for a while after I teach or review it but invariably resort to simple present or past tense after a couple of weeks in conversations and role plays, etc. Just wondering if others have had this problem and if so, how did you deal with it :?:

Thanks for your help,


present perfect

Unread postby Stef » 24 May 2004, 22:55

I'm a French English teacher. I use specific words to make them use the present perfect, and I systematically correct them :
I ask questions, or I tell them to ask each other's questions on

How long
for and since
lately, etc...

I make a whole list of words and there is no other way for them but to answer in the present perfect.

I also ask them in pairs to finish a story that I start out in the present : they must explain what lead to the statement, and must use the present perfect.
Like :
I am exhausted.
I am not hungry anymore.
Now, I have to look after children.
Today, I must stay at home.
We can't leave now.etc...

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Unread postby jasminade » 23 Aug 2004, 17:29

as an opener try "how long have you had brown hair?",or, "have you had your hair cut"

one of the techniques i use is to remind students that the present perfect is used for achievements ("doctors have cured many diseases", "humankind has walked on the moon", "johhny has learnt to speak english very well")...

i try to tell students that the use of the auxiliary "to have" is important, to an english listener like myself, it lends to emotion such as achievement, or indeed, loss: "she has broken my heart"... it usually helps to know that the tense is very important in english, and if Ss grasp this they will become very good users of english. also, make sure they use the past participle correctly, drill regularly on this aspect.

good luck

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