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Perfect aspect

You use the perfect verb aspect to express when an action is completed, like "I have done the dishes.".

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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Hello grammarians, today I want to talk to you about the idea of the perfect aspect of verbs. And what that means is that it's not, you know, beyond reproach, or that it's like beautiful and shiny. No, no, no, no, no. What it means is really that whatever we're talking about, whatever action we are talking about is complete. So we use the perfect aspect in all tenses to illustrate when something has been completed prior to the present moment. So when we talk about the present, we're talking about one point: now. But when we're using, when we use aspect, it enables us to talk about a period between then and now. You're speaking in the now referring to a point previous. So we could say, using the perfect, the way you form the perfect is you simply add have and then you use the past form of the verb. So if my assignment, for example, were to wash some dishes, when the dishes were complete, I would say to the person that told me to wash the dishes, "I have washed the dishes." So I'm using the present tense form of to have, and the past tense form of washed. So as with the progressive aspect, the thing that changes is the helper verb. This part, the main verb, does not change. It remains in the past tense, even if we're talking about the present or the future. The part that changes is have. So if we want to put this story in the past, you know, talk about a period that is "then" but also say that we washed the dishes at a period before then, right, before the moment in the past that we're talking about, if that makes sense, we would say, "I had washed the dishes." And if we want to talk about something in the future that happens before that future moment but after now, we would use the future perfect to say, "I will have washed the dishes." And that's what the perfect aspect allows us to do. It allows us to travel backward in time a little bit extra. It allows us to say, oh, well, before the point in the story that I'm mentioning, this thing was already completed. So the perfect enables us to say, here is a thing that happened in the past, here is a verb action that has completed in the past prior to the moment I'm talking about. So to recap, the perfect refers to something finished. You can learn anything, David out.