What Is the Perfect Aspect? (with Examples)

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What Is the Perfect Aspect? (with Examples)

The perfect aspect (or complete aspect as it's sometimes called) is the aspect of a verb which expresses a completed action.

Perfect aspect is the term for verbs in a perfect tense.

Examples of Verbs in the Perfect Aspect

Here are some examples of verbs in the perfect aspect:

In the Past Tense
  • We had seen.
  • I had cleaned.
  • She had drunk.
In the Present Tense
  • I have seen.
  • She has taken.
  • It has found.
In the Future Tense
  • You will have finished.
  • They will have eaten.
  • She will have swum.

Forming the Perfect Aspect

The perfect aspect is formed using a form of the auxiliary verb have and the past participle. For example:

Forming the Past Perfect Tense

"had" + past participle
  • They had played.
Forming the Present Perfect Tense

"has" or "have" + past participle
  • He has played.
  • We have played.
Forming the Future Perfect Tense

"will have" + past participle
  • He will have played.

Verb Tenses Showing the Perfect Aspect

Here is a list of the verb tenses. The ones in the perfect aspect are shaded.

The 4 Past Tenses Example
simple past tense I went
past progressive tense I was going
past perfect tense I had gone
past perfect progressive tenseI had been going
The 4 Present Tenses Example
simple present tense I go
present progressive tense I am going
present perfect tense I have gone
present perfect progressive tense I have been going
The 4 Future Tenses Example
simple future tense I will go
future progressive tense I will be going
future perfect tense I will have gone
future perfect progressive tense I will have been going