Thinking in english

antonio   Wed Jun 27, 2007 3:00 pm GMT
Dear Mr Richer!
You are crazy! michael has right. He is trying to break his bad habits. He wants to achive something - not like you.

CYA bambino!
JP   Thu Jun 28, 2007 2:39 am GMT
<<michael Wed Jun 27, 2007 12:57 pm GMT
Thank you JP. I don't know when should I use perfect tenses. Is [there] anybody who is able to explain it?>>

I'll do my best here. Just let me know if I say anything completely incomprehensible.

To keep things from getting long and confusing, I'll focus on the form of the perfect tense I used in my original post, which is known as the present perfect progressive. It is used to describe an action that began at some point in the past, is going on now, and that may continue into the future.

So to express that you started studying English ten years ago, are still studying it now, and may continue to study it in the future, use this form, as in:

"I have been studying English for ten years."

Here are a few more examples...

A native speaker might say, "I have been speaking English all my life," to express the fact that he started speaking English early in his life, is speaking it now, and plans to keep on speaking it in the future.

A teacher could say that a particular student "has been learning a lot of biology in this class" to express that the student began learning biology at some point in the past, is still learning biology now, and will (hopefully) continue to learn more biology as the class progresses.
Davidab   Thu Jun 28, 2007 6:08 am GMT
If the time period the action takes place in has finished eg: yesterday, last week, when I heard the news, etc, don't use present perfect, use past simple:

She arrived yesterday
I came when I heard the news

If the time period the action takes place in hasn't finished eg: today, this week, this year, before now, until now, etc...

for finished actions both are possible but present perfect if it's a recent action

I saw her today
I've seen her today
I've seen that film twice this year
They've just come back

for unfinished actions in unfinished time periods use present perfect simple or present perfect continuous/progressive

They've lived in the same house all their lives
She's been doing the same job for three years