Past & Perfect Tenses

Learning English at your own pace…

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

Assalaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh

Grammar & Usage Tidbits

The perfect tenses are formed with the helping verb “have” in some form followed by the past participle form of a second verb. When the present tense forms of “have” (have, has) are used, the resulting construction is called the present perfect tense; for example: We have seen that movie; Samihah has answered these questions before.

The past tense of have (had) is used to form the past perfect tense; for example: Sahl had reported the accident before the police arrived.

The most common mistake is that writers use the past tense when they should use either the present perfect tense or the past perfect tense.

When Should I use the Present Perfect Tense?

You should use the present perfect tense to indicate an action that began in the past and continues to the present (The Imam has called to tawheed for 20 years). or an action that began and ended at an unspecified time in the past. (The Iman has held three conferences on the topic).

When Should I use the Past Perfect Tense?

You should use the past perfect tense indicates an action that took place in the past before another past action (I had admired the Imam before social media recognized his efforts). or a past action that ended at a specific time (I had attended their masjid in 2011).

The present perfect and the past perfect tenses allow us to show rather subtle differences in past time relationships.

To be Continued…in shaa’Allaah

adapted from A Commonsense Guide to Grammar & Usage; 2nd Edition; by Larry Beason and Mark Lester (2000); Lesson 10: The Past and the Perfect Tenses pgs. 112 – 113