Tom is looking for his key. He can’t find it. He has lost his key.
He has lost his key = He lost it recently, and he still doesn’t have it.
Have/has lost is the present perfect simple.
|I||have||(= I’ve, etc.)||finished|
|he/she/it||has||(= he’s, etc.)||lost|
|we/you/they||have||(= we’ve, etc.)||done
The present perfect simple is have/has + past participle. The past participle often ends in –ed (finished/decided etc.), but many important verbs are irregular (lost/done/written etc.).
When we say that ‘something has happened’, this is usually new information.
- Ow! I’ve cut my finger.
- The road is closed. There’s been (there has been) an accident.
- (from the news) Police have arrested two men in connection with a robbery.
When we use the present perfect, there is a connection with now. The action in the past has a result now:
- “Where’s your key?” “I don’t know. I’ve lost it.” (=I don’t have it now)
- He told me his name, but I’ve forgotten it. (=I can’t remember it now)
- “Is Sally here?” “No, she’s gone out.” (=she is out now)
- I can’t find my bag. Have you seen it? (=Do you know where it is now?)
Note the difference between gone (to) and been (to):
John is on holiday. He has gone to Italy. (= he is there now or on his way there)
Jody is back home now. She has been to Italy. (= she has now come back)
You can use the present perfect with just, already and yet.
Just = a short time ago
- “Are you thirsty?” “No, I’ve just had some water.”
- Hello. Have you just arrived?
Already = something happened sooner than expected
- “Don’t forget to pay your phone bill.” “I’ve already paid it.”
- “What time is Matt leaving?” “He’s already left.”
Yet = until now. yet shows that the speaker is expecting something to happen. Use yet only in questions and negative sentences:
- Has it stopped raining yet?
- I’ve written the email, but I haven’t sent it yet.
Note: you can also use the past simple (did, went, had etc.) in the examples on this page. So you can say:
- ‘Is Sally here?’ ‘No, she went out.’ or ‘No, she’s gone out.’
- ‘Are you hungry?’ “No, I just had lunch.’ or ‘No, I’ve just had lunch.’
Practise the present perfect
Read the situations and write sentences. Use the following verbs in the present perfect:
arrive break fall go up grow improve lose
- Thomas is looking for his key. He can’t find it.
- Liza can’t walk and her leg is in a cast.
- Last week the bus fare was €1.80. Now it is €2.
The bus fare ___________________.
- Marina’s English wasn’t very good. Now it is better.
Her English ___________________.
- David didn’t have a beard before. Now he has a beard.
- This morning I was expecting a letter. Now I have it.
The letter ___________________.
- The temperature was 20 degrees. Now it is only 12.
- Thomas has lost his key.
- Liza has broken her leg.
- The bus fare has gone up.
- Her English has improved.
- David has grown a beard.
- The letter has arrived.
- The temperature has fallen.
Put in been or gone.
- James is on holiday. He’s gone to Italy.
- Hello! I’ve just __________ to the shops. I’ve bought lots of things.
- Alice isn’t here at the moment. She’s __________ to the shop to get a newspaper.
- Tom has __________ out. He’ll be back in about an hour.
- ‘Are you going to the bank?’ ‘No, I’ve already __________ to the bank.’
Source: Murphy, R. English Grammar in Use. 4th Ed.