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Present perfect

Click on the highlighted text for an explanation of the present perfect tense in use

Language in context

Over the last twenty years, the average size of households has fallen dramatically. The number of one person households has grown, due largely to the ageing of the population, as has the number of one parent families. Couples having smaller families have also contributed to the fall in household size.

In 1976, 60% of families were couples with children. By 1996, this had fallen to 51%. Part of this change can be attributed to the increase in one parent families with dependent children, but most of the change is due to the increase in the proportion of couple-only families. People are now having children later in life, and are living longer. Therefore, they are spending more time living in couple-only families, both before they have families and after their children have left home.

However, children are leaving home later. In 1981, 34% of children aged 20-24 lived with their parents. By 1991, this had increased to 40%. This increase has to some extent countered, the fall in the couples with non-dependent children only.

(Source: ABS Yearbook Australia 1997, Number 79, Australian Government Publishing Service, ACT, p.81)

Copyright in ABS data resides with the Commonwealth of Australia.

Used with permission ABS Opens in a new window

This is a present perfect verb. It is used here to describe a continuing trend. The average size of households began to fall twenty years ago and has continued to fall.
This is a present perfect verb. It is used here to describe a continuing trend. The number of one-person households began to grow twenty years ago and has continued to grow.
This is part of a present perfect verb. In this sentence, 'as has' is a brief way of saying: and the number of one-parent families has grown too.

Have contributed is a present perfect verb. It describes a contribution to the fall in household size (couples having smaller families), which began in the past and is continuing.

Note the position of 'also', which is not part of the verb.

This is a present perfect verb. It is used here to describe a completed activity (their children left home) which has an impact on the present (the parents live in a couple-only family).

Has countered is a present perfect verb. It is used here to describe the current effect of the 1981-1991 increase in the percentage of children living with their parents: it has to some extent countered the fall...

Note the position of to some extent, which is not part of the verb.

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