Present Perfect Continuous tense in English

Present Perfect Continuous tense in EnglishPresent Perfect Continuous as a blend of Present Perfect and Present Continuous.

What time expressions go with it.

Present Perfect Continuous(Progressive) is a present tense for activity until now. Something has been happening lately or periodically repeated up to the present speaking moment. The activity may have just finished or still be going on.

Present Perfect Continuous’ form is a finite have been + present participle. They may be contracted to ‘ve/s been. Negative Present Perfect Continuous has have not / haven’t, has not / hasn’t.

I’ve been playing football.

I’ve been reading that book.

I’ve been thinking about your offer and I’m ready to accept it.

have/has been + -ing
? +
has sb been doing sth sb has been doing sth sb hasn’t been doing sth

Present Perfect Continuous Meanings

  • long/frequent recent actions

They’ve been going out a lot recently.

She’s been smoking too much recently.

Sam has been talking on the phone for half an hour. (= He began talking on the phone half an hour ago and he’s still talking.)

  •  visibly resultant actions

She has been walking all mourning. (The action result is visible in the present – her feet hurt.)

What have you been doing?

I’ve been repairing the car. (= My hands are very dirty.)

  • annoying actions (emphasis on anger/irritation)

Somebody has been giving away our plans. (The speaker is irritated.)

I’ve been looking for you for the last half hour. (= Where have you been?)

Tim’s been watching TV all day. (= He’s still watching it.)

Neighboring Tenses

As a blend of Present Perfect and Present Continuous, Present Prefect Continuous stresses both activity result and duration. With the verbs live, work, teach, feel (= have an emotion) we may use Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous with no semantic difference. However as a more continuous tense, it avoids the other stative verbs. So Present Perfect Continuous is a dynamic version of Present Perfect.

We have lived / been living here for 20 years.

Time Reference

  • prepositions

for (optional except in negations), since, how long

They’ve been studying English for 3 years.

Sally’s been working here (for) 6 months.

What have you been doing since we last met?

John’s been looking for a job since he finished university.

How long have you been feeling so depressed?

  • adverb(ials)

lately/of late/recently, all morning/day/night/year, long

She’s been working all day.

I’ve been working really hard lately.

Have you been waiting long?