Understanding Grammar: The present perfect and a surprise party
In this week's Premier Skills English Podcast, Rich, Jack and Rowan are preparing a leaving party for a friend. The language focus is on the present perfect and how it is used to connect past actions with present results and how we use it to talk about recent events. In this week's task, we want you to say no to three invitations and give excuses (using the present perfect). Don't forget to listen to the end of the podcast because we have a new football phrase for you to guess.
Understanding Grammar: Present Perfect 1
Jack: Hello my name’s Jack
Rowan: My name’s Rowan
Rich: and I’m Rich
Rowan: And welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast.
Jack: In the Premier Skills English podcast, we talk about football and help you with your English.
Rich: In this week’s roleplay, we’re planning a surprise party for a friend who is moving away.
Rowan: She’s got a new job. Her dream job as a football reporter.
Jack: I’d love to be a football reporter.
Rich: Are you sure you wouldn’t just love the free match tickets?
Jack: That’s definitely also true.
Rowan: After you hear the roleplay, we’ll look at some of the language we used. This week we’re going to focus on grammar and we’re going to talk about the present perfect.
Jack: We’re going to speak about how we use the present perfect to talk about recent events - things that have just happened and how we connect past actions to present results.
Rich: This week’s task is to listen to three invitations and say why you can’t go.
Jack: If you’re listening to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or any other podcast platform, you should also check out our website.
Rowan: On the Premier Skills English website you’ll also find
the transcript, examples and activities to help you understand the language, and a task for you to complete.
Rich: You’ll also find a community of friendly listeners to interact with, in our comments section.
Jack: And that includes us - we’re always around to answer questions and join in the discussions.
Rowan: But if you listen on Apple Podcasts you can always write answers to our questions or any other comments in the review section.
Rich: Before we do the roleplay let’s look back at last week’s football phrase.
Last week’s Football Phrase
Jack: If you didn’t hear our football phrase last week we’re going to give you one more chance to guess now.
Rowan: Last week’s football phrase was a *******. A ******* is a type of penalty that is chipped softly into the centre of the goal when the goalkeeper dives either to the left or the right. It’s a very cheeky penalty but the taker looks a bit silly if the goalkeeper doesn’t move. The ******* is named after a Czech footballer who used to take this type of penalty.
Rich: We’ll give you the correct answer at the end of the show when we give you a new football phrase.
Jack: The first listener to get it right last week was MoBeckham from Turkey. Well done again MoBeckham and well done for reaching the top of our leaderboard, too.
Rowan: Lots of other listeners got the right answer too. Well done to Marco Zapien from Mexico, WSanta from Argentina, MohamedKuna from Sudan, Emmanuel from France, Hayato from Japan, Elghoul from Algeria, Lakerwang from China and Max Alex from Vietnam.
Rich: Also well done to Gergo Nagy from Hungary, Fabio7010 from Italy, Robert Tavares and Izabela from Brazil, Mayu from Japan, Luibomyr from Ukraine, Gulmira Kenzhik from Kazakhstan and Idzingirai from Zimbabwe.
Jack: It was great to see so many of you having a go at last week’s task. Thanks to you I’ve learned much more about National Days in Algeria, Mexico, Japan, Zimbabwe, Turkey, Brazil and Argentina.
Rowan: It was interesting to read about the border derby that is played between teams from either side of the Argentinian and Brazilian borders on their respective independence days. Thanks, Wsanta!
Rich: Thanks to Alex from Ukraine and Fabio7010 from Italy I also learned a bit more about last week’s football phrase.
Jack: If you haven’t heard last week’s podcast it’s called Learning Vocabulary: Lost in America. You can find it on the homepage on the Premier Skills English website or on Apple Podcasts.
Rich: As well as Independence Day, we speak a lot about the differences between American and British English.
Rowan: Don’t forget that we’ll have a new task for you to do and a new football phrase later in the podcast.
Introduction to roleplay
Rowan: In this week’s roleplay, you’re going to hear us preparing a surprise party for a friend.
Jack: Our friend has got her dream job as a football reporter for a national TV station which means she has to leave our small town and go and work and live in London.
Rich: She is very excited about this and we are very excited for her but we are very sad too because she is leaving.
Rowan: We wanted to give her a big send-off so we decided to give her a surprise leaving party.
Jack: But we’re not the most organised of people and our party preparations didn’t go exactly to plan.
Rich: Have a listen to the roleplay and while you’re listening we’d like you to answer one question.
Rowan: What goes wrong?
Rowan: She’s just sent me a message. (pause) She’s going to be back at about seven.
Rich: That gives us about an hour. Have we done everything? Is everything ready?
Jack: Nowhere near. What have we got?
Rich: I’ve baked some cookies and some muffins, of course.
Rowan: Cookies? Biscuits, please. You were only on holiday in America for a month.
Jack: I’ve made this banner.
Rowan: Nice. What does it say?
Jack: Congratulations on your new job!
Rowan: You’ve forgotten a ‘T’.
Jack: Oh, bother. Have you got a pen? I can change it. What have you done?
Rowan: I’ve got the cake.
Jack: You’ve made a cake?
Rowan: No, I’ve ordered the cake.
Rich: Where is it?
Rowan: It’s on its way. I’ve just got off the phone from the baker’s. They’re bringing it now. It’s going to be amazing.
Jack: Has anyone bought her a present?
Rich: I haven’t bought a present for anyone for 20 years and I’m not going to start now.
Rowan: You’re so stingy.
Rich: The party is the present … cake, music, friends.
Jack: Oh no! She’s early.
Rowan: That’ll be the cake.
Rich: Let’s have a look then.
Rowan: Hold on. I haven’t even answered the door yet.
Jack: Come on then open the box. Let’s have a look at this cake. I’m starving.
Rowan: You can’t have any yet.
Rich: What is that? It looks like a big ...
Rowan: Thank you, Jack. That’s exactly what it is. A football reporter’s microphone. Strawberry and cream. She’s going to love it.
Rich: OK, 10 minutes. Who’s got the music ready?
Jack: Not me.
Rowan: Me neither.
Rich: Hasn’t anyone sorted out any music?
Jack: Don’t worry everyone. I’ve brought my ukulele.
Rowan: Oh no! Really? What are you going to play?
Rich: She’s on her way. Everyone down on the floor. Hit the lights.
Rowan: You want us to lay down in the dark? I’ve put my best dress on.
Rich: Get down!
Jen: Why is it so dark in here? Where are the lights? Oof!
Rich/Jack/Rowan: Surprise! Congratulations!
Rowan: Oh no! She’s fallen over the cake.
Rich: She’s covered in strawberries and cream.
Jack: Anyone for a song? (play a chord or two)
Rowan: Before we look at some of the languages we used in the roleplay let’s think about the answer to the question we gave you.
Rich: The question was: What went wrong with the party preparations?
Jack: Well, there were a couple of things. I had made a banner to put up and it was meant to say congratulations but it said congraulations. I was concentrating on my artwork a bit too much.
Rowan: We also forgot to buy a present and we forgot to sort out - to arrange - any music. This meant that Jack had to play his ukulele.
Rich: But the worst thing, of course, was falling over the cake. Rowan had gone to all that trouble to order a cake and then Jen falls over it. There was cake everywhere.
Jack: I still ate some - it was delicious. And we still had a good time if I remember rightly.
Rowan: Yes, we did. Right, let’s have a look at some language.
Rich: This week we’re going to focus on the present perfect and look at how we use it to connect past actions with present results and things that have happened in the recent past.
Jack: There were lots of examples of this in the roleplay. I said I’ve made a banner.
Rowan: I said I’ve put my best dress on.
Rich: And I said I’ve baked some cookies.
Jack: All of these examples use the present perfect which we create with the verb have in the present tense and the past participle or the third form of the verb.
Rowan: In the examples above the present perfect is have made, have put and have baked.
Rich: In all three cases the present perfect is being used to talk about a past action with a present result.
Jack: Using the present perfect gives the listener more information than the past simple. Saying I’ve baked some cookies is understood as I baked some cookies earlier and I have some cookies - here they are now.
Rowan: It’s the same with the other two examples. We are using the present perfect to describe a finished action with a result in the present. Jack made the banner for the party earlier in the day and is showing us now; I put my dress on at home but I’m wearing it now.
Rich: Other examples of the present perfect being used to show present results include I’ve brought my ukulele and she’s fallen over the cake.
Jack: This use of the present perfect is much more common in British English. In American English, the past simple is often used in these situations. I baked some cookies, I brought my guitar and she fell over the cake.
Rowan: We also use the present perfect to connect actions in the past with the present even if the result in the present isn’t clear. In the roleplay, I said I’ve ordered the cake.
Rich: Here, from the context, we understand that Rowan has done this recently but there is no clear result because we can’t see the cake.
Jack: The past simple can also be used here, especially in American English. What have you done?
Rowan: In my best American accent: I ordered the cake or I’ve ordered the cake.
Rich: To emphasise something has been done in the recent past we often use the adverb just with the present perfect.
Jack: In the roleplay Rowan said she’s just sent me a message and I’ve just got off the phone from the baker’s. In both of these examples, we are using just to emphasise that something has happened very recently.
Rich: Again this is what we would say in British English; in American English, it would be much more common to hear the past simple: she just sent me a message and I just got off the phone from the baker’s - sorry I can’t do an American accent.
Jack: In British English, we tend to use the present perfect when we use adverbs such as just, yet, and already but in American English, the past simple is much more common in these situations.
Rowan: Have a listen to these examples:
Rich: Hi Rowan. Is Jack there?
Rowan: No, sorry. He just left.
Rich: Hi Rowan. Is Jack there?
Rowan: No, sorry. He’s just left.
Jack: Do you want to watch Black Panther tonight?
Rowan: No, thanks. I’ve already seen it.
Jack: Do you want to watch Black Panther tonight?
Rowan: No, thanks. I saw it already.
Rich: Have you seen David Beckham’s Inter Miami play yet?
Rowan: No, I haven’t seen them play yet.
Rich: Have you seen David Beckham’s Inter Miami play yet?
Rowan: No, I didn’t see them play yet.
Jack: OK, so we’ve looked at some of the ways that the present perfect is used to talk about things which have happened recently and how we use it to talk about past actions with present results.
Rich: There are other ways to use the present perfect such as using it to talk about unfinished actions and also life experiences and we will look at these in future podcasts.
Rowan: We’ve got lots more examples and activities connected to the present perfect on the Premier Skills English website.
Jack: This week’s task is to listen to three invitations and say why you can’t accept the invitation.
Rich: You need to think of an excuse for each invitation. You need to think of something that happened that will stop you from accepting.
Rowan: In other words, a past action that has present results which means we want to see you using the present perfect in your excuses.
Jack: Invitation one: Hey there. I’m having a party to celebrate my 40th on Friday. Do you want to come?
Rich: Invitation two: Hey there. Remember we said that we’re going to start training for that half-marathon next summer. We’re meeting in the park on Sunday afternoon.
Rowan: Invitation three: Are you going to the match on Saturday? Do you want to join me?
Jack: Write all your excuses in the comments section on the Premier Skills English website and try to use the present perfect in your answers where you can.
Rich: or write your answers in the review section on Apple Podcasts if that’s where you listen to us.
Jack: It’s your turn with the football phrase this week, Rowan.
Rowan: OK, this week’s football phrase is a *** *****. Officially, a ***-****** describes how play is restarted after the ball has gone out of play or the referee has stopped the game. *** ****** can be goal kicks and throw-ins but they are usually used to describe corners and free-kicks. Some teams are very dangerous from *** ****** and score lots of goals from them. Teams try different types of *** ****** and they’re practised a lot on the training ground.
Rich: OK, I’ve got it. I think we can also use the term dead ball situation but it’s not the phrase we’re looking for here. If you are still wondering what the answer was to last week’s football phrase it was a Panenka or a Panenka penalty.
Jack: Right, that’s all we have time for this week! Don’t forget to write your answers to our questions and make a guess at our football phrase in the comments below. If you get it right, we’ll announce your name on next week’s show.
Rowan: If you have a question for us about football or English you can email us at email@example.com
Jack: or you can leave your questions and comments on the website in the comments section or on our Facebook page or Twitter feed
Rich: or you could give us a rating and a fantastic review on Apple Podcasts.
Rowan: Bye for now and enjoy your football!
How much did you understand?
Here is the vocabulary you saw at the top of this page and how Rowan, Rich and Jack used it in the roleplay. Do you know the words in bold?
We wanted to give her a big send-off so we decided to give her a surprise leaving party.
I’ve made this banner.
You’re so stingy.
Let’s have a look at this cake. I’m starving.
That’s exactly what it is. A football reporter’s microphone.
Hasn’t anyone sorted out any music?
She’s on her way. Everyone down on the floor. Hit the lights.
Listen to the roleplays again to hear how Rich, Rowan and Jack used these words and phrases.
Present Perfect: Connecting past actions with present results
In the roleplay, Rich, Jack and Rowan were preparing a leaving party for a friend who was moving away. They used the present perfect a lot in the roleplay. Remember we create the present perfect with the verb have in the present tense plus the past participle or the third form of the verb. One reason to use the present perfect is to connect past actions with present results. Look at this example from the podcast:
I've baked some cookies.
Using the present perfect here gives the listener more information than the past simple. There are two things happening here: a past action and a present result
I baked some cookies earlier and here they are now.
Here are some similar examples from the roleplay. Can you think what the past action is and the present result in each example?
I've put my best dress on.
I've brought my guitar.
She's fallen over the cake.
Present Perfect: Recent Events
The present perfect is often used to talk about things that have happened in the recent past. To emphasise something has been done in the recent past we often use the adverb just with the present perfect. Look at these examples from the podcast :
She’s just sent me a message. She’s going to be back at about seven.
I’ve just got off the phone from the baker’s. They’re bringing the cake now.
No, sorry. Jack’s just left.
Note: In British English, we use the present perfect more than in American English. In British English, when we are talking about recent events or connecting past actions with present results we usually use the present perfect but in American English, the past simple is often used. In British English, we usually use the present perfect with the adverbs just, yet and already but the past simple is usually used in American English.
This week’s task is to listen to three invitations and say why you can’t accept any of them. You need to think of an excuse for each invitation. You need to think of something that happened that will stop you from accepting. In other words, a past action that has present results.
- Invitation one: Hey there. I’m having a party to celebrate my 40th on Friday. Do you want to come?
- Invitation two: Hey there. Remember we said that we’re going to start training for that half-marathon next summer. We’re meeting in the park on Sunday afternoon.
- Invitation three: Are you going to the match on Saturday? Do you want to join me?
Try to use the present perfect in your excuses. Write all your excuses in the comments section below and don't forget to make a guess at this week's football phrase!