Present Perfect Tense on GMAT

Watch this short video to understand the concept of present perfect tense. Useful for GMAT sentence correction questions.

Present Perfect Tense on GMAT

Tense is a topic that you must prepare very carefully, to score well on the GMAT sentence correction. It is particularly important to pay close attention to the perfect tense forms. While the simple tense forms are far more common, on the GMAT, the perfect tense forms pose a unique challenge. The perfect tense is only used under certain peculiar circumstances, making it difficult to identify exactly where it has been applied appropriately and inappropriately. In this short article, we will cover the form and use of one particular form of the perfect tense, the perfect present tense.

Present Perfect Tense

First, we will take a look at the form of the present perfect tense. The use of the present perfect tense can be identified, easily, through the presence of the helping verb "had", or the verb "have" in case the verb is meant to be plural. This tense is used to indicate events that ended at some point in the past but have certain applicability to or continue to remain relevant in the present. Let us illustrate this concept through the following, detailed, example.

Example 1 - Donald Trump has won the presidential election.
As this article was written in 2017, please consider the effect of the information stated, in Example 1, up to that point in time. As, at the time of writing, Donald Trump is the current President of the United States, it is appropriate to use the present perfect tense here because the information presented has a continuing effect on the present.

Now let us consider another example, to serve as a contrast to Example 1.

Example 2 - Barack Obama has won the presidential election.
In this example, the information presented, Barack Obama's victory in the elections, does not seem to have a direct effect on the present. Thus, the appropriate tense to use is the simple past tense, which is typically the default tense.

The present perfect tense is also used to refer to events that concluded immediately beforehand. Once again, we will illustrate this usage with an example:

Example 3 - Students have come.
Imagine, for a moment, that the students described here have only just arrived; in this case, we will not utilize the simple past tense to say that "Students came". We will use the present perfect tense because the event has just concluded.

This article has deliberately been kept brief; for a more elaborate explanation, please refer to Experts' Global's Stage One Sentence Correction videos.

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