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The Present Perfect Continuous Tense

We use the present perfect continuous tense to talk about: actions and states that began in the past and are still continuing at the time of speaking. We also use it to talk about a recently completed activity with a present result.

Although both tenses relate to the fact that something is being referred to in the past, the present perfect refers to something that has finished, but the present perfect continuous refers to something that is continuing in the present.

The present perfect continuous is formed using the construction has/have been + the present participle + ing.

Not all verbs are compatible with continuous action. Some examples of such verbs are to be and to own.

I have been owning my Mazda since 2007. INCORRECT

I have owned my Mazda since 2007. (present perfect tense) CORRECT

Gus has been being late for work recently. INCORRECT

Gus has been late for work recently. (present perfect tense) CORRECT

Incomplete or ongoing activity

For example: I have been working here for 25 years. (will probably continue)

She has been studying English for 3 years.

They have been playing Hide-and-Seek since 3 o'clock.

I haven't been sleeping well lately.

I have been learning how to play the piano.

Recently and lately are words that we often find with verbs in the present perfect continuous tense.

Recently completed with a present result

For example: I have been swimming laps all day and now I am tired.

I have been chopping onions all day and now my eyes are red.

Let's practice!

Complete the following sentences by selecting the correct form of the verb in brackets.

  1. It has (be/been/being) raining all day.

  2. (Have/has/are) your siblings been getting along?

  3. She (is/has/have) been ______ (study) hard this year.

  4. I'm tired because I (have/has/am) been working out.

  5. He (has being/have been/has been) living in Paris since June.

  6. We have been ______ (watch) TV (since/for) we had lunch.

  7. Has it (be/is/been) raining since you arrived?

  8. My sister (have/has) been travelling (since/for) 3 months.

  9. They haven't been ______ (work) all day.

  10. My sister has not been ______ (speak) to me for a week.

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