Use have -en?
Present simple vs Present Perfect

When do people use have -en? Let’s look at some sentences with have -en (present perfect) and the present form (present simple) to better understand the meaning have -en adds and why speakers choose to use it.

Why do we use it?

We add have -en when we are talking about the present, and we want to say what happened before now. There is a result in the present.


We use the present form to talk about things generally.

We use have/has + -en to talk about specific experiences (results we have in the present).

present simple tense timeline - in general - many times

I often go to Africa. (generally: many times)
He doesn’t play baseball. (this generally doesn’t happen)
Do you eat insects? (generally: many times)

present perfect tense timeline - present result - Recent action: happened at a time before now

I‘ve been to Africa. (maybe once)
He hasn’t played baseball. (not yet: he may do it in the future)
Have you eaten insects? (maybe once)

We often talk about what generally happens then more specifically about experiences in the same conversation.

A: Do you ski? (present form)
B: Yes.
A: Have you ever skied in Europe? (have -en)

If you’d like to go over these again you can review information on the present form and have -en.

Next, review and compare sentences with the past form and have -en. Many learners ask questions about when to use these (the past form and the present perfect). So here you can compare the core meanings to understand why people use one of these patterns in one situation but not another, and why sometimes either structure is okay.

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If you are interested in a grammar book that looks at common parts of English sentences and what they mean (like have -en on this page), be sure to check out Real Grammar.

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