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Civil Service Grammar: Perfect Tenses


PRESENT PERFECT TENSE is used to express an action happened at an unspecific time

before now. The exact time is not important. Unlike the simple past tense, the action is done at a
particular time. Hence, time expression such as yesterday, last month, etc. must be stated. The
only time expressions accepted in this tense are: ever, never, once, many times, several times,
before, so far, already, yet, etc.
FORM: for singular subject =Has + past participle of the given verb
For plural subject = Have + past participle of the given verb
Example 1: I have seen the movie Serendipity more than ten times.
Present perfect tense is also used to talk about change that has happened over a period of time.
Example 2: My English has improved since I migrated to America.
We also use the present perfect tense of the verb to tell an action that began in the past but
continues up to the present.
Example 3: I have been in Japan since October.

Exercise: Choose the correct form of the present perfect tense in the following sentences.
My friend Claire (has been, have been, was) in England for six months.
Many policemen (have died, has died, died) in the Mindanao siege.
The army (has attacked, have attacked, attacked) that city five times.
The principal (has been, have been, was) in the meeting since this morning.
The baby (has grown, have grown, grew) so fast!


PAST PERFECT TENSE is used to express an action that took place before another past
action. The auxiliary verb had + past participle of the verb is used to form the past perfect
tense. This tense is also called the had tense.
1. I had prepared the salad when my nephews arrived home.
2. Frieda had entered the grades before Melissa started to compute her grades.
3. The student had received the report card before her mother asked for it.
4. Kristine had never complained before yesterday.
5. Julius had studied Thai before he moved to Thailand.
Exercise: Underline the correct form of the verb for each sentence.
1. We (waited, had waited) at the mall for half an hour when my friend (came, had came) into
2. The family of the fallen policemen (receive, had received) financial help from NGOs before
the government (announced, had announced) its monetary assistance.
3. Josefa (had worked, worked) as a secretary before she (became, had become) the company
4. Rumors about the wedding (had come, came) out when people (saw, had seen) them together
from the church.
5. There (was, is) heavy traffic because it (had rained, rained) so much the whole day.


FUTURE PERFECT TENSES expresses the idea that something will happen before another
action in the future. It also shows that something will happen before a specific time in the future.
Just like the past perfect tense there must be two actions. In this case, these actions should be
completed or done in the future. The action that will happen first, though in the future, will
follow the will + have + past participle of the verb. Then, the other future action will use the
simple present tense.
Form: will + have +past participle of the verb
The common time expressions are: before, by tomorrow/ 7 o’clock / next month, etc., until or
1. By next year, I will have moved to my new house.
2. By the time the husband gets home, the wife will have cooked dinner.
3. He will have perfected his English by the time he moves to the US.
Exercise: Use the future perfect form of the verb in the following sentences.
1. They (graduate) from college by April 2025.
2. Melissa (turn) 40 by the end of the year.
3. The students (submit) the report until the teacher (arrive).
4. I (complete) the needed reports by the time the president (need) them.
5. A better model of cellular phones (release) in the market by next month.