Present Perfect vs Past Perfect Tense
Another common source of errors, especially as it’s so easy to hit the “s” rather than the “d” (or vice versa) on a keyboard without noticing!
Luckily, it’s usually not that hard to figure out which tense to use.
Present perfect: have/has + past participle
- Use it for recent actions or events that are still relevant at the time of writing, or if the window of time in which the action happened isn’t over yet.
- E.g. “I have emptied the dishwasher.”
- E.g. “I have been very productive this morning: I’ve cleaned the kitchen, done some office work and taken the dog for a walk.” → The morning is not yet over. By the way, you could write “I have” four times in this sentence, but it’s not really necessary.
- (If you are referring to your morning in the afternoon, use the past simple: “I emptied the dishwasher (this morning).”)
Past perfect: had + past participle
- Use it to describe actions that happen before something else or actions that are interrupted by other events.
- E.g. “I had been living in London for several years before I met my husband.”
- E.g. “I had (already) emptied the dishwasher when my mum asked me to do it.”
And that’s all for today!