Paco has decided to visit Sierra Leone and Kenya: I've just arrived in Sierra Leone

In this topic we are going to study the form and use of another very frequently-used tense in English: the Present Perfect. Unfortunately, non-native English speakers tend to confuse the use of this tense with that of the Past Simple tense, so, we will also have a quick look at the main differences between them.
However, "man cannot live by tenses alone"1, so, we will study two modal verbs, too: need and dare, and how, on some occasions, they are not used as modal verbs, but as any other normal English regular verb. Finally, we will also work on two other frequent vowel sounds in English: / æ / and / ʌ /.
1 The noun bread in the common saying Man cannot live by bread alone ("No solo de pan vive el hombre") has been replaced by tenses to make a wordplay.
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Paco has just arrived in Freetown, Sierra Leona. As you know, he wanted to visit several other places in Africa before going to the mines of diamonds in this country. However, as almost always, he saw a documentary on TV which made him decide to come to Freetown first. Before visiting the mines, he has also decided to write a letter to Andrés and the rest of his friends. So, he has written the letter, and at this very moment he is reading it...


Dear friends,

By inkognitoh. C. Commons

My first thought was to write to everyone. But my plans have just turned upside down the past few days. I've just arrived in Freetown, Sierra Leone. A documentary about this country in the west of Africa made me change my mind and come to visit the diamond mines here. I'm willing to learn about and visit the mines here, so I'm afraid I won't have enough time to write a letter or postcard to everyone. That's why I'm writing this letter to you all. By the way, Andrés, thank you very much for your phone call last week. You've always been very kind and supportive. Well, all of you have always been very kind and supportive!

As you know, I've left South Africa, but not under the circumstance I would have wished. In fact, I'm rather sad and disappointed that I witnessed such a cruel scene in the Apartheid museum. I think white people have never treated black people as they deserve in that country. I really hope things change in the future. In any case, things have changed quite a lot there since the apartheid was ended in 1994. However, after staying there, I believe that some vestiges of the apartheid have remained in the country.

Well, anyway, now I'm here, in Freetown; and, although I have come to another country which hasn't got over the long civil wars it has suffered for the last 15 years, I really hope to have a good time and learn lots of things about this country and its people. I'll let you know about it as soon as I can.

Take care and let me know about you all!


Read Paco's letter carefully paying attention to the tenses he uses.

Icono de iDevice Solved exercise
In his letter Paco refers several times to actions that are complete, that is, that happened in the past. However, with some of them he doesn't use a specific time in the sentence. That's why he uses the Present Perfect Tense.

Fill in the chart with the sentences in the Present Perfect tense Paco uses in the letter to his friends.


Affirmative statements Negative statements



By Gwen's River City Images. C. Commons
According to the text...

1. Paco didn't enjoy his stay in Johannesburg.

Verdadero Falso

2. Sierra Leone is a rich country which has no problems.

Verdadero Falso

3. Paco has always been proud of his friends.

Verdadero Falso
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Now we've introduced the topic, let's study the form and use of one of the most frequently-used tenses in English: the Present Perfect! Come on, go on to next section, it's easy!