In formal academic essays or in IELTS task 2 essays. The Present Perfect can be used in two cases mainly, which are shown in the below examples:

Case 1) I have been married for 21 years.

The action "married" happened in the past, but the action is still happening now.

Case 2) When Australia has applied the economic policies which I mentioned earlier, according to the government statistics, most employees found a new job in supermarkets after their former employer companies had been closed.

The government applied these policies in the past, but I want to emphasis that these policies are still applied now. It is like "I have lost my book." Losing my book happened in the past, but by using present perfect, I want to emphasis that losing my book is still important now.

Two native English teachers said that the sentences in case 2 are wrong and suggested to use past tense instead, but when I discussed this with them they changed their mind. I wonder how native English speakers actually use present perfect despite what grammar books say as I want to learn avoid writing sentences which seem ungrammatical to most native English speakers.

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    – ColleenV
    Commented Aug 26, 2019 at 20:04

2 Answers 2


When X has Y, Z is the same as saying Each time X has Y, Z happened.

It does not necessarily imply that "X is Y'ing" right now.

But it does imply that if X is Y'ing right now, then Z is probably happening now.


Try “The government has been applying economic policies...”. That’s the present perfect continuous tense, which is the one that means the action started in the past but is still happening. What matters to the tense is when the action happened, not when the consequences happened. You lost your book in the past. You got married in the past. Those are not continuous actions like applying an economic policy.

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