I have a sentence

She has drunk milk

This sentence refer to Past Perfect but how its different from Present Perfect ? As both (past and present perfect tense) verb's present the past ? How can I prove that this sentence is Past Perfect not Present Perfect.


  • 2
    Your sentence is not Past Perfect - it's Present Perfect. The Past Perfect version would be "She had drunk milk". Do you still have a question? – FumbleFingers Sep 28 '14 at 11:47
  • @FumbleFingers We need to use had with He/She/It/I/They in Past Perfect ? Can't we use has,have in Past Perfect ? – ARG Sep 28 '14 at 16:53
  • 1
    The difference between Past Perfect and Present Perfect is exactly and only that in Past Perfect constructions the auxiliary verb to have takes the past (not present) form. Read more about it here. – FumbleFingers Sep 28 '14 at 17:01
  • I'll wait to see what others think about this question, but my impression is it's probably General Reference if all you needed was the information in my comments above. If you're still confused, please feel free to edit the question text to clarify what exactly you don't understand. – FumbleFingers Sep 28 '14 at 17:10
  • @FumbleFingers I am still reading but as far what I read I am reading that drunk is irregular verb , so we need to use has with it in Past Perfect , as a reference you can check here grammar-monster.com/glossary/irregular_verbs.htm – ARG Sep 28 '14 at 17:23

There are many things to learn in past and present perfect. That said, actually, the question is broad. But I'll try to restrict my answer that precisely addresses your concern and you might find it helpful.

You said - She has drunk milk refers to past perfect - wrong!

And you want to learn the difference between past/present perfect.

The gist of those tenses lie in the structure of the sentence and its context.

In most of the cases, we use the present perfect while referring something that started in the past but its effects are still in the present.


She has lived in this apartment all her life

The sentence structure is has/have + past participle

Now, when we use the past perfect, we refer thing that are already happened in the past. And we may also want to point something before that time.

The structure is had + past participle

She had lived in this apartment all her life - she's dead now!

I found the best reference of British Council to learn the past perfect. Check out the nuance of past simple and past perfect on the page.

So, do you now see how do you differentiate these usages?

Getting back to your concern - She has drunk milk - you said it past perfect. Do you realize now? Check the sentence structure... :)

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