EnglishClub
Home Learn English Teach English MyEnglishClub Home Learn English Teach English MyEnglishClub
English Club : Learn English : Grammar : Verbs : Tenses : Present Perfect Continuous

Present Perfect Continuous Tense

I have been singing

How do we make the Present Perfect Continuous Tense?

The structure of the present perfect continuous tense is:

subject + auxiliary verb + auxiliary verb + main verb
    have
has
  been   base + ing

Here are some examples of the present perfect continuous tense:

  subject auxiliary verb   auxiliary verb main verb  
+ I have   been waiting for one hour.
+ You have   been talking too much.
- It has not been raining.  
- We have not been playing football.
? Have you   been seeing her?
? Have they   been doing their homework?

Contractions

When we use the present perfect continuous tense in speaking, we often contract the subject and the first auxiliary. We also sometimes do this in informal writing.

I have been I've been
You have been You'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 been We've been
They have been They've been

Here are some examples:

  • I've been reading.
  • The car's been giving trouble.
  • We've been playing tennis for two hours.

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. There are basically two uses for the present perfect continuous tense:

1. An action that has just stopped or recently stopped

We use the present perfect continuous tense to talk about an action that started in the past and stopped recently. There is usually a result now.

I'm tired because I've been running.
past present future

!!!
Recent action. Result 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.

2. An action continuing up to now

We use the present perfect continuous tense to talk about an action that started in the past and is continuing now. This is often used with for or since.

I have been reading for 2 hours.
past present future

Action started in past. Action is continuing now.  
  • I 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 the present perfect tense.

  • We use for to talk about a period of time - 5 minutes, 2 weeks, 6 years.
  • We use since to talk about a point in past time - 9 o'clock, 1st January, Monday.
for since
a period of time a point in past time

x
20 minutes 6.15pm
three days Monday
6 months January
4 years 1994
2 centuries 1800
a long time I left school
ever the beginning of time
etc etc

Here are some examples:

  • I have been studying for 3 hours.
  • I have been watching TV since 7pm.
  • Tara hasn't been feeling well for 2 weeks.
  • Tara hasn't been visiting us since March.
  • He has been playing football for a long time.
  • He has been living in Bangkok since he left school.
For can be used with all tenses. Since is usually used with perfect tenses only.

Present Perfect Continuous Quiz

Privacy & Terms | Contact | Report error
© 1997-2014 EnglishClub