Both present perfect and past perfect talk about something that happened before a point in time (reference point).
In the present perfect, our reference point is the present.
In the past perfect, our reference point is in the past.
- An action that started in the past and continues to the present.
I have lived in this city for six months.
- An action that happened before now (unspecified time)
I have been to Japan twice.
How to form the present perfect:
HAVE / HAS + past participle
Examples of the present perfect:
- My mother has just gone to the store.
- Janet has lived abroad for five years.
- I haven’t seen the new movie yet.
- Have you finished your homework?
- I’ve been to Japan three times.
- My mother’s just gone to the store.
- Janet’s lived abroad for five years.
- An action that happened before a time in the past
When I arrived at the office this morning, I discovered that I had left my computer on the night before.
How to form the past perfect:
HAD + past participle
Examples of the past perfect:
- I went to Japan in 1988 and 1991.
- I turned 10 years old in 1994.
I had been to Japan twice by the time I was 10 years old.
- My husband ate breakfast at 6:00 AM
- I woke up at 7:00 AM
When I woke up this morning, my husband had already eaten breakfast.
It’s common to use the contraction ‘d in the past perfect:
- I’d traveled to five different countries by the time I was 20 years old.