Present Perfect Usage 5: Recent action

Actions completed in the recent past (but not in the finished period of time, this is a bit tricky!):

He has recently been to England. Now he is back in New York.

(been to because “been” is associated with the verb go to, so we don’t use in)


He has recently gone to London. He is there now

Other examples:

She has just returned from New York. I haven’t seen him lately. Have you already finished your homework? Has it stopped raining yet? I haven’t found the book yet!

Very recent actions!

Here is the hint: with very recent actions, yes, we can use this term very recent actions, sometimes, with very recent actions, we can use Both Past Simple and Present Perfect:

She just left

She has just left

In a nutshell (exceptions may apply)

We use Present Perfect when we have:

just / recently / lately , already

yet can also express not only the completeness, but recentness of action

Past Simple

I have heard many times native speakers say:

What did you just say?

That’s because the speaker is not interested in the action (he said, or he didn’t say). They want to know what he said. Please, refer to the lesson “When we don’t use Present Perfect.”

Some verbs, such as say, tell, ask, understand etc. usually go with the Simple line of tenses:

Did you already tell him about it?

Did you understand what I told you?

I can also say that in modern English, the complexity of Present Perfect is simplified to the simplicity of Past Simple. What I want to say is that many times you can just substitute Present Perfect with Past Simple or use both when it comes to recentness of action:

No, thank you, I just had my lunch.

More on Present Perfect:

Back to: Present Perfect Tense

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *