present perfect in songs u know

to produce present perfect in english u need the auxiliary have or has and the past participle of another verb.

fun elt practice :) richyrocks english on youtube

it’s the same structure in spanish, but recognize that the auxiliary have translates as haber NOT tener.  check out these examples in popular music…..

  • if u were rickrolled in 2008, u may not have let the video play long enough to realize that there is a standard application of present perfect used twice.  in rick astley‘s never gonna give u up  (the rickroll song) at 1:01 and again at 2:16 the lyrics say

we’ve known each other for so long

  • in mexican spanish, experience is usually not expressed with present perfect, but in english it is necessary.

similarly, spanish does NOT use present perfect to talk about the experience of going to a place. the spanish verb typically used in these situations is conocer, which is usually translated into english as know or meet.  but when talking about going to places in english, this is a mistake. u should use present perfect with visited (visit) or more commonly been (be), as in the title of johnny cash‘s tribute to all the places he has visited in the u.s., i’ve been everywhere. 

present perfect (and past perfect) are often used with the word ever to indicate that an experience has happened at some time. listen at :20 for an example of past perfect with ever followed by an example of present perfect

he asked me if i’d ever seen a road with so much dust and sand (past perfect)

and i said, “listen, i’ve travelled every road in this here land” (present perfect)


  • eminem‘s cleaning out my closet starts with a question that uses ever

have u ever been hated or discriminated against?  i have.

i’ve been protested and demonstrated against.


  • the first lyric in the smashing pumpkins song today also uses ever

today’s the greatest day i’ve ever known


  • the chorus of are u experienced? by jimi hendrix uses ever too.  jimi asks

are u experienced? have u ever been experienced?

this is clever wordplay (smart arrangement of the lyrics) by jimi. have u ever been experienced is present perfect passive voice. it changes the perspective from asking about experience (are u experienced?) to being the object of experience. in other words, has someone else experienced u?

  • joe walsh is a member of the eagles and his guitar work on hotel california contriubuted to making that song a rock classic.  his song fairbanks, alaska asks various questions using present perfect.  at 1:50, walsh uses never, the negative version of ever, and sings (in contrast to johnny cash’s song above)

i’ve never been to fairbanks alaska that’s the only place i’ve never been


  • the title of the rolling stones song anybody seen my baby? is an example of reducing the auxiliary (has in this case) at the beginning of a question.  the complete question would be has anybody seen my baby? at 1:52 listen for this present perfect line

she has gotten lost in the crowd

can u identify the stripper in the video who walks through the streets in her underwear and a fur coat?

which present perfect song do u like best? what other songs do u know that utilize the present perfect? share your input under leave a reply




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