The sound of Present Perfect

Present Perfect is one of my favourite grammar points, because it presents the biggest challenge for my students and me. I always have to think of new ways to show how it works and how it is an always present part of oral and written speech.

Once you’ve come to grips with the form and typical uses, it’s important to become aware of this tense when you hear it. It also can be quite difficult to understand present perfect in quick speech. You need to realize that the part “have, has, haven’t, hasn’t” remains unstressed! It is very often the case, that you can only hear it, if you know it’s there.

1. Below you will find a short video taken from the film “Sherlock”. In this part Dr. Watson is making a proposal (asks to be his wife) to his girlfriend. His very short speech consists of nothing but present perfect.

  • Listen to it once just trying to undertand what he’s saying.
  • Listen to it for the second time and do the task below. In the gaps there are only present perfect forms.



2. Let’s dive deeper now. Here is a song by Pink filled with Present Perfect. Listen, enjoy and then check yourself, of you can hear all the forms (and verbs) correctly.



3. Now think and write a short speech (it may be a proposal speech) similar to the one Watson did. If you post it in the comments, I’ll be happy to check and comment.

Ex. This year has been one of the best in my life. I’ve travelled to many places. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people. I’ve searched and found. I’ve asked myself questions and I’ve received the answers.


4. Make questions with “Have you ever…?” and post them in the comments. You’re welcome to answer other students’ questions, if there are any.