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I want to know if "I'm almost done" is correct, or whether it should be "I've almost done" as a present perfect tense. I often read this on Facebook news feed. Is it correct?

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Both are correct, but mean different things. (And only the latter is actually Present Perfect. The former is Simple Present.) –  ЯegDwight Apr 24 at 15:28
    
@ЯegDwight I've heard 'I'm almost done' as a substitute for the perfect 'I've almost done/finished'. –  Edwin Ashworth Apr 24 at 15:31
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Are you asking about these phrases on their own or as part of a larger sentence? To my ear, only “I’m (almost) done” can stand on its own, although “I have done” probably works as the complete answer to certain questions, especially in BrE. –  Tyler James Young Apr 24 at 15:38
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@Tyler It probably is more common in BrE: have done to be completely finished: have you done?. [Also unsolicited 'I've done'] [Collins] –  Edwin Ashworth Apr 24 at 16:39
    
"I've done" (or "I have done") all by itself is unknown in AmE. You might say something like "I've done what you asked for". "I'm done" alone is fine in AmE. –  Phil Perry Apr 24 at 17:40

5 Answers 5

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Do is a transitive verb. —it requires a direct object. Consequently, have + the past participle done is a present perfect construction, a verb, and this is not a complete sentence:

I have done...

What have you done? —you have to tell us:

I have done the report.
I have done the dishes.
I have done what you told me.

But when you use the past participle done with a form of be there are two interpretations. One is that the result is a passive construction.

This report was done by me = I did this report.

Ordinarily, however, a passive I am done = Somebody did me doesn’t make any sense. Consequently, we interpret done as a predicate adjective:

I am done (with this task) = I am finished (with this task), I have nothing more to do (with this task).

This use of the past participles done and finish is called a deverbal, a verbform which has lost its ‘verbiness’. This cannot be done with every verb, but some other verbs this has happened to are interest, (“I am interested in science”), drink (“John is drunk”) and lose (“I think we’re lost”).

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Thank you so much for explaining :) –  jinhyun Apr 25 at 7:45

With "almost," as you specify in your question, you would normally say either:

I am almost done.

or

I have almost finished.

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Both can be correct:

I'm done with this assignment.

I've done this type of assignment in the past.

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  • "To be done" is idiomatic and means "to have finished". For example, "Have you written that email yet?" "Yes, I'm done."

  • "To be done with something" (or "to be finished with something") to get rid of something or stop using it for good. "I'm done with email! It takes up so much of my time."

    • But "To have finished with something" means to have finished using it for now. "Can I use the computer now, please?" "Sure, I've finished with it."
  • "To have done" is the present perfect of "to do". "Have you ever sent an email by mistake when you meant to cancel it?" "Yes, I've done it hundreds of times."

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thanks for helping me understand. –  jinhyun Apr 25 at 7:48

It depends on the context. They mean different things.

"I'm done" means "I am done." "I've done" means "I have done."

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thank you so much :) –  jinhyun Apr 25 at 7:49
    
This doesn't provide an answer. It simply expands the contractions. –  Chenmunka Apr 25 at 8:09

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