I am learning "English grammar in use", and have one question. There is an explanation about the situation about the key:

He has lost his key = He lost it recently, and he still doesn't have it.

Now, take another example:

It has rained = It is not raining now.

I am a little bit confused, why in the first situation the fact, that some man has lost the key is true, and in the second situation, the fact, that it has rained are not true.

2 Answers 2


Perfect tenses establish a relationship between two events. One of the uses of the present perfect is to describe some ongoing event that is true up to the current moment; however, it does not clearly say whether that event is still going on. For example:

She has painted ten pictures this week.

We don't know if she is in the process of painting an eleventh picture, or if she has stopped. We also don't know if the week is over. All we do know is that, so far, there are ten pictures.

The rest we have to guess from context. Example:

She has painted ten pictures this week, and now she's working on another.

She has painted ten pictures this week, and she says she needs to take a break.

In your examples the context has much to do with the nature of the events. For example, the key would not still be "lost" if he just now found it, so we have to assume it's still lost. If he did find the key just now, we would use the past perfect:

He had lost his key, but just now someone found it and returned it to him.

"Raining" is an ongoing event. If it was currently still raining, we would not use the perfect tense. Instead we would use the present progressive:

It is raining.

or the present perfect progressive, along with a description of time:

It has been raining since this morning.

Since the speaker uses the present perfect, we can assume it has, just now, stopped raining.


Like Andrew said context is very important and it is about present relevance as well: He has lost his key (this happened in the past) and the present relevance (that which is true now) is that now he does not have his key.

It has rained and the present relevance could be that the streets are wet or that I don't have to water my plants or it has rained for the first time in months, for example. So even if the rain has stopped, there is some connection to now.

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