Perfect Tense

They're used to show actions that are already complete. Each tense is created by adding the helping verbs have, has, had, or will have to the past participle.

No, they're not flawless. Nothing is.

As we learned from Nicolas Cage in Moonstruck, the only things that are perfect in this messed up world are snowflakes and stars.

There are three perfect tenses:
- present perfect (the action started in the past, but it's still going)
- past perfect (the action started and finished in the past, but it happened before another action being referred to)
- future perfect (the action, regardless of when it started, will be completed at some point in the future)



" Norman has impressed his pub trivia team with his knowledge of 80s hair-metal bands."

We use the present perfect form of the verb impress here because Norman currently exists as an authority on Bon Jovi, Ratt, and Quiet Riot. The action of impressing his teammates was completed in the past, and his current status, right now, is that of somebody who has previously demonstrated his deep understanding of backcombed hair and leather pants.

" Carolina had planted three rows of tomatoes in her garden before the tornado swept them all away."

Since Carolina completed the action of planting tomatoes in the past, before the tornado stole them, we use the past perfect form of the verb plant. Now if only she could click her ruby slippers together and magically summon her missing tomatoes.

" By the end of their wedding reception, Mike and Courtney will have answered the question "So where are you going on your honeymoon?" 138 times."

Here we use the future perfect tense of the verb answer because we're anticipating the result of an action that will be completed in the future.


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