Correct Use of the Present Perfect Tense – Part II
Common Errors with the Present present tense
‘Where is Alice?’ ‘She has been to the market.’ (Wrong)
She has gone to the market. (Right)
She has been to the market means that sometime in the past she went to the market and came back. She has gone to the market means that she is still in the market; she hasn’t come back yet. If Alice was present on the scene, there was no need to ask where she was.
Have you ever visited the US? ‘Yes, I have gone to the US.’ (Wrong)
‘Yes, I have been to the US.’ (Correct)
Yes, I have gone to the US means that I am still in the US. How can I answer the question then? Yes, I have been to the US means that I went to the US and then came back. So I know the US; I am not a stranger to that country.
Present perfect in the subordinate clauses
The present perfect tense can be used in the subordinate clause only when the verb in the main clause is either in the present or the future tense.
We will start the work after they have agreed to our conditions.
I will telephone you after I have seen him.
I will go to America after I have finished school.
After you have completed this form give it to the secretary.
He cannot be appointed before he has finished his studies.
I understand you have resigned from the committee.
When the main verb is in the past tense
When the verb in the main clause is in the past tense, the present perfect tense cannot be used in the subordinate clause. Use a past tense like simple past or past perfect.
He wrote this book after he has returned from Africa. (Wrong)
He wrote this book after he had returned from Africa. (Right)
She went to America after she has finished her studies. (Wrong)
She went to America after she had finished her studies. (Right)
We began the work after they have agreed to our terms and conditions. (Wrong)
We began the work after they had agreed to our terms and conditions. (Right)