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Present Perfect Continuous

In this article you will learn about the present perfect continuous tense. You will learn when to use the present perfect continuous tense and will see present perfect continuous forms and present perfect continuous examples. The present perfect continuous is sometimes referred to as the present perfect progressive.

What Is The Present Perfect Continuous Tense?

The present perfect continuous tense is used to speak about an action or condition that started in the past and continues until now. The present perfect can also be used to to talk about experiences or accomplishments that happened in a recent past time or time that is not yet finished

Present Perfect Continuous Tense Form

Present Perfect Continuous Tense Form

The form of the present perfect continuous is
SUBJECT + HAS/HAVE + BEEN + VERB + ING
(Usually contracted in speech: I’ve, he’s, she’s, etc.)

Or, when using the negative form it is
SUBJECT + HAS/HAVE + NOT + BEEN + VERB + ING
(Usually contracted in speech: haven’t /hasn’t)

Quick Tip:
The present perfect continuous is often used with the words below.
Watch out for these signal words!
since / for
This week/month/year, today, recently, lately

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When To Use The Present Perfect Continuous?

The present perfect continuous tense is used to speak about an action or condition that started in the past and continues until now. The present perfect can also be used to to talk about experiences or accomplishments that happened in a recent past time or time that is not yet finished

We use the present perfect continuous if the action is still current or the action has a direct relationship with the present time. The continuous form emphasizes the duration and continuous nature of the action.

The present perfect continuous cannot be used with non-action verbs, sometimes called stative verbs. The present perfect continuous can only be used with verbs implying action.

Present Perfect Continuous Timeline

I have been living in Miami since 2006.

Present Perfect Continuous Questions Examples

Present Perfect Continuous Questions

How have you been doing recently?
How long has he been living in Salt Lake City?
Where have you been going out recently?
Where has she been buying all of those shoes?
What have you been doing since I last saw you?
What has she been reading?
Who have you been dating?
Who has been teaching you this term?
Why haven’t you been wearing a coat this week?
Has it been raining?
Have you been working out?

Present Perfect Continuous Tense Examples

Present Perfect Continuous Tense Examples

  • I’ve been thinking about you a lot recently.
  • He’s been dating here for years. 
  • She’s been working there for 10 years. 
  • You haven’t been doing your homework lately. 
  • They have been dreaming about that for ages. 
  • We have been living in this building since 2007.

Present Perfect Vs Present Perfect Continuous

Present Perfect Vs Present Perfect Continuous

The present perfect is used to talk about experiences or accomplishments that happened in the past and/or in a recent past time that is not yet finished. Both the present perfect and the present perfect continuous are used to speak about an action or condition that started in the past and continues until now or the action has a direct relationship with the present time. The continuous form emphasizes the duration and continuous nature of the action.

The present perfect continuous cannot be used with non-action verbs, sometimes called stative verbs. The present perfect continuous can only be used with verbs implying action.

Present Perfect

1. To talk about general experiences in the past

(Specific time is not important.)

Have you ever visited Key West? Yes, I have visited Key West (many times). Have they ever been to Australia? No, they have never been to Australia.

2. An action or condition that started in the past and continues until now

(SIGNAL WORDS: How long…? Since / For) 

How long has she been married? She has been married for 2 years.

How long has it been since you talked to your friend? I haven’t talked to my friend since last week.

3. To talk about experiences or accomplishments that happened in a recent past time or time that is not yet finished:

(SIGNAL WORDS: This week/month/year, Today, Recently, Lately, Already, Just, Yet)

Have you visited Key West this year? Yes, I have visited Key West twice this year.

Has she already eaten lunch today? Yes, she has already eaten lunch.

Where have you been lately? I have not seen you. I have been sick. I have been in bed.

Present Perfect Continuous

The Present Perfect Continuous is often interchangeable with USES 2 & 3 above:
“ACTION OR CONDITION FROM THE PAST UNTIL NOW”
“TO TALK ABOUT EXPERIENCES THAT HAPPENED IN A RECENT PAST TIME”

We only use the Present Perfect Continuous if the action is still current or the action has a direct relationship with the present time. The Continuous form emphasizes the duration and continuous nature of the action.

The Present Perfect Continuous cannot be used with Non-Action Verbs, sometimes called Stative Verbs. The Present Perfect Continuous can ONLY be used with Verbs Implying Action. Sometimes a verb can have a Stative meaning and an Active meaning. Note the differences.

Correct: How long have you lived in Miami? I have lived in Miami since 2006.
Correct: How long have you been living in Miami? I have been living in Miami since 2006. (TO LIVE is an active verb.)

Correct: How long has she been married? She has been married for 2 years.
Incorrect: How long has she been being married? She has been being married for 2 years. (TO BE describes a state.)

Correct: How many years have they had that red car? They have had that red car for 10 years.
Incorrect: How many years have they been having that red car? They have been having that red car for 10 years. (HAVE is not usually an active verb. In this case, it shows ownership, which is a state.)

Correct: How long have you had lunch at that cafe? I have had lunch at that cafe for many years.

Correct: How long have you been having lunch at that cafe? I have been having lunch at that cafe for many years.

(In this case TO HAVE means eat, so it is an active verb. Native speakers would prefer the perfect continuous form here.)

Correct: How have you felt lately? I have felt great lately.

Correct: How have you been feeling lately? I have been feeling great lately. (In this case, TO FEEL is an active verb.)

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