In this lesson you will learn about the Present Perfect Continuous tense. If you haven’t already, we recommend you take a look at our lesson on the Present Perfect Simple tense first. In a nutshell the Present Perfect Continuous tense puts emphasis on the duration of an action that occured before the time of speaking and has continued up to the present or is still going on.
How to use the Present Perfect Continuous
1. Use this tense to say how long you have been doing something or how long something has been happening.
- I have been doing my homework since 7 o’clock this morning.
- She has been drinking for two hours.
2. Use this tense when you focus on a particular action or event. It does not matter whether the action is complete or not.
- He has been cooking while his wife was at the hairdresser.
3. There are some verbs that can be used with the Present Perfect Simple and the Present Perfect Continuous interchangeably. There is very little difference in meaning. For example: wait, learn, study, live or work
- My parents have lived in London for 10 years.
- My parents have been living in London for 10 years.
Present Perfect Continuous – Signal words
all day, for (over a period of time), since (from a starting point in the past), how long?, the whole week, just, ever, never, already, so far
|Subject||Auxiliary||been||present participle||Rest of the sentence|
|I / You||have||been||painting||the living room.|
|He / She / It||has||been||painting||the living room.|
|We / You / They||have||been||painting||the living room.|
Negative Sentence Structure:
|Subject||Auxiliary + NOT||been||present participle||Rest of the sentence|
|I / You||have not or haven’t||been||painting||the living room.|
|He / She / It||has not or hasn’t||been||painting||the living room.|
|We / You / They||have not or haven’t||been||painting||the living room.|
Interrogative Sentence Structure:
|Auxiliary Verb||Subject||been||present participle||Rest of the sentence|
|Have||I / you||been||painting||the living room?|
|Has||he / she / it||been||painting||the living room?|
|Have||we / you / they||been||painting||the living room?|