Related Links

Present Perfect Continuous Tense

The Present Perfect Continuous Tense is made up of the present perfect tense of the verb to be (have/has been), and the present participle of the main verb (verb + ing)

Statement: subject + have/has + been + (verb + -ing)
  He   has   been   running.
Question form: have/has + subject + been + (verb + -ing)
  Has   he   been   running?

 

The Present Perfect Continuous is:

  • used for an action that began in the past and has been continuing up to now (and may still be going on)

Example: Cecilia and I have been talking about getting married.

 

  • used for an action that began and just finished in the past.

Example: "Look how dirty your hands are. " "Yes, I have been repairing the car."

 

  • often used with since, for, ever since, etc.

Example: Grandpa has been playing with his grandchildren for hours.
Example: I have been looking for the missing piece of the jigsaw since ten o'clock.
Example: He has been working there ever since he went there for a holiday.

 

  • also used with all (all day, all evening, all week) to indicate duration of an activity, lately, etc.

Example: He has been suffering from toothache all day.
Example: I've been feeling ill lately.

 

  • used with how long to form questions.

Example: How long have you been studying English?

 

  • without mention of time

Example: We've been having a lot of difficulties with our new computer system. (describes a difficult situation that is not over.)

 

Verbs not used in continuous tense
We use the present perfect tense for some verbs (stative verbs) which are not normally used in the continuous tense.
I'm sorry, I have forgotten your name. (NOT: I'm sorry, I've been forgetting your name.)
I have found a solution to this problem. (NOT: I have been finding a solution to this problem.)
She has hated him since the day he offended her. (NOT: She has been hating him since the day he offended her.)
We have known each other since we first met. (NOT: We have been knowing each other since we first met.)
They have just tasted the chicken soup and want more. (NOT: They have just been tasting the chicken soup and want more.)

 

The present perfect continuous tense and the present perfect tense
With verbs such as feel (have a particular emotion), live, work and teach we can use the present perfect continuous tense or present perfect tense and show no difference in meaning.
Grandma has not been feeling very well lately.
Grandma has not felt very well recently.
We have been living in this town since 1999.
We have lived in this town since 1999.
My father has been working all day in the garden.
My father has worked all day in the garden.
His uncle has been teaching in London for five years now.
His uncle has taught in London for five years now.

 

The present perfect continuous and the present continuous tenses

  • The present perfect continuous tense describes the duration of an activity that began in the past and is still in progress.

Example: He has been reading in the library since it opened this morning. (NOT: He is reading
in the library since it opened this morning.
Example: I have been playing badminton with him for one year. (NOT: I am playing badminton
with him for one year.

 

  • The present continuous tense shows an action is going on right now with no mention of length of time.

Example: He is reading in the library right now. (NOT: He has been reading in the library right
now.)