Many English learners struggle to understand the present perfect tense. It doesn’t exist in many languages, so it is difficult to remember when to use it in English. It is easier to understand the present perfect tense if you can remember the different situations in which it can be used.
In this lesson, we’ll look at using the present perfect to talk about your life experiences using the phrase have you ever …?
Have you ever been on TV?
The present perfect can be used to talk about things you have done in your life, without saying when you did them. It can be used to talk about experiences you’ve had, or things you have done or tried in the past.
The present perfect is used to talk about if you did something, not when! If you want to talk about when you did something, use the simple past.
Ever is often used with the present perfect when talking about experiences. Ever means at any time. When used with the perfect perfect, it means at any time in your history.
I’ve been on TV.
I’ve been on TV once in my life!
I’ve been on TV many times!
I’ve never been on TV.
I’ve never done/tried it.
Yes! I’ve been on TV. I was on TV in 2008.
The present perfect is used to talk about if you did something. The simple past is used to talk about when you did something.
Yes, I have ever!
Yes, I have ever been on TV!
Don’t use ever in your answers. Ever is not used in positive or negative statements. It is only used in questions with the present perfect.
Have you ever eaten Japanese food?
– Yes, I’ve tried sushi.
Have you ever smoked a cigarette?
– No, I’ve never done that!
Have you ever been on a plane?
– Yes, I’ve been on a plane many times!
Have you ever read a Stephen King book?
– No. I don’t like scary books!
The best I’ve ever …
Use ever in a superlative statement when you want to express that something is the best, worst, craziest, funniest etc. thing that happened in your life!
Yes, I’ve been on TV! It was the craziest thing I’ve ever done!
Yes, I’ve tried bungee jumping. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done!
This is the best pizza I’ve ever had!