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Monday, December 27, 2021

Present Perfect Continuous Tense - Examples, Rules and Exercise


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The Meaning of Present Perfect Continuous Tense

The present perfect continuous or present perfect progressive is a verb tense which is used to show that an action started in the past and has continued up to the present moment.


The present perfect continuous is used to refer to an unspecified time between 'before now' and 'now'. The speaker is thinking about something that started but perhaps did not finish in that period of time. He/she is interested in the process as well as the result, and this process may still be going on, or may have just finished.


The present perfect continuous usually emphasizes duration, or the amount of time that an action has been taking place.


The present perfect continuous tense (also known as the present perfect progressive tense) shows that something started in the past and is continuing at the present time. The present perfect continuous is formed using the construction has/have been + the present participle (root + -ing).

How do we make the Present Perfect Continuous tense?

The structure of the Present Perfect Continuous tense is:

subject+auxiliary have+auxiliary be+main verb
conjugated in Present Simplepast participle
have, hasbeenpresent participle

The first auxiliary (have) is conjugated in the Present Simple: have, has

The second auxiliary (be) is invariable in past participle form: been

The main verb is invariable in present participle form: -ing

For negative sentences we insert not after the first auxiliary verb.

For question sentences, we exchange the subject and first auxiliary verb.

Look at these example sentences with the Present Perfect Continuous tense:

subjectauxiliary verbauxiliary verbmain verb
+Ihavebeenwaitingfor one hour.
+Youhavebeentalkingtoo much.
?Havetheybeendoingtheir homework?

Contraction with Present Perfect Continuous

When we use the Present Perfect Continuous tense in speaking, we often contract the subject and the first auxiliary verb. We also sometimes do this in informal writing.

I have beenI’ve been
You have beenYou’ve been
He has been
She has been
It has been
John has been
The car has been
He’s been
She’s been
It’s been
John’s been
The car’s been
We have beenWe’ve been
They have beenThey’ve been
  • I’ve been reading.
  • Jenny’s been helping us recently.

In negative sentences, we may contract the first auxiliary verb and “not”:

  • I haven’t been playing tennis.
  • It hasn’t been snowing.

How do we use the Present Perfect Continuous tense?

This tense is called the Present Perfect Continuous tense. There is usually a connection with the present or now.

We use the Present Perfect Continuous to talk about:

past action recently-stopped

past action still-continuing

Present Perfect Continuous for past action just stopped

We use the Present Perfect Continuous tense to talk about action that started in the past and stopped recently. There is usually a result now.

I’m tired because I‘ve been running.
Recent actionResult now

I’m tired [now] because I‘ve been running.

Why is the grass wet [now]Has it been raining?

You don’t understand [now] because you haven’t been listening.

Present Perfect Continuous for past action continuing now

We use the Present Perfect Continuous tense to talk about action that started in the past and is continuing now. This is often used with for or since.

have been reading for 2 hours.
Action started in past.Action is continuing now.

have been reading for 2 hours. (I am still reading now.)

We‘ve been studying since 9 o’clock. (We’re still studying now.)

How long have you been learning English? (You are still learning now.)

We have not been smoking. (And we are not smoking now.)

For and Since with Present Perfect Continuous tense

We often use for and since with perfect tenses:

  • We use for to talk about a period of time: three hours, two months, one decade
  • We use since to talk about a point in past time: 9 o’clock, 1st January, Monday
a period of timea point in past time
– – – – – – – – – – – –– • – – – – – – – – – –
30 minutes10.00am
four daysFriday
3 monthsMarch
2 years2010
3 centuries1700
agesI left school
everthe beginning of time

Look at these example sentences using for and since with the Present Perfect Continuous tense:

I have been studying for three hours.

I have been watching TV since 7pm.

Tara hasn’t been feeling well for two weeks.

Tara hasn’t been visiting us since March.

He has been playing football for a long time.


Affirmative: She has been / She's been running.
Negative: She hasn't been running.
Interrogative : Has she been running?
Interrogative negative: Hasn't she been running?

Example: present perfect continuous, TO LIVE
have been livingI haven't been livingHave I been living?
You have been livingYou haven't been livingHave you been living?
He, she, it has been livingHe hasn't been livingHas she been living?
We have been livingWe haven't been livingHave we been living?
You have been livingYou haven't been livingHave you been living?
They have been livingThey haven't been livingHave they been living?

Unfinished actions and Finished actions

Unfinished actions
1: To say how long for unfinished actions which started in the past and continue to the present. We often use this with 'for' and 'since' 

  • I've been living in London for two years.
  • She's been working here since 2004.
  • We've been waiting for the bus for hours.
2: For temporary habits or situations. The action started in the past and continues to the present in the same way as with use number 1, but we don't answer the questions about 'how long' so clearly. Instead, we use a word like 'recently'.
  • I've been going to the gym a lot recently.
  • They've been living with his mother while they look for a house.
  • I've been reading a lot recently.
Finished actions
3: Actions which have recently stopped (though the whole action can be unfinished) and have a result, which we can often see, hear, or feel, in the present. We don't use a time word here.
  • I'm so tired, I've been studying.
  • I've been running, so I'm really hot.
  • It's been raining so the pavement is wet.

More Examples of Present Perfect Continuous Tense

  • I have been writing articles on different topics since morning.
  • He has been reading the book for two hours.
  • They have been playing football for an hour.
  • She has been finding the dress since morning.
  • He has been studying in the library for three hours.
  • We have been shopping at this fair for two hours.
  • We have been watching a movie in this Cineplex for two hours.
  • You have been shopping in that market for three hours.
  • I have been singing different kinds of songs, especially modern.
  • I have been listening to melodious songs for an hour.
  • He has been traveling around the world for a month.
  • They have been playing cricket in that field for five hours.
  • The poet has been writing romantic poems for several hours.
  • The lyricist has been writing realistic songs since the beginning of his career.
  • Have you been listening to realistic songs since morning?
  • I have not been watching the cricket match for an hour.
  • Have you been preparing the assignment for two hours?
  • I have been helping him to do the task for an hour.
  • My mom has been cooking for three hours.
  • I have been watching the concert for an hour.



Watch the following Videos:






QUIZ - Present Perfect Continuous Tense 

You can do this grammar quiz. It tests what you learned on the Present Perfect Continuous page.

1. It has _____ snowing a lot this week.


2. _____ your brother and sister been getting along?


3. Rick _____ been studying hard this semester.


4. I’m tired because I _____ been working out.


5. Julie ________ living in Italy since May.

 has being
 is been
 has been

6. Did you know he’s been teaching German _____ fifteen years?


7. We have been watching TV _____ we had dinner.


8. He has ________ too hard today.

 been working

9. Has it _____ raining since you arrived?


10. My brother has been travelling _____ two months.