Unit 1.1

Present Perfect Continuous

Introduction

Present perfect continuous is a tense used to talk about actions and situations which started in the past and are still going on in the present.

Form

Present perfect continuous (or progressive) has three forms:

Affirmative

Its structure, in the affirmative form, is:
Subject + have/has + been + [verb + -ing] + …

  • To Have: the third person singular changes from have to has;
  • The affirmative short forms are: I’ve been you’ve been he’s been
  • Been is the past participle of to be. {see Past Participle, A2 level}

BEENPRESENT PARTICIPLE

SUBJECT AUXILIARY VERB
I/You have been working
He/She/It has
been working
We/You/They have been working

Negative

Its structure, in the negative form, is:
Subject + have/has + not + been + [verb + -ing] + …

  • To Have: the third person singular changes from have not to has not;
  • Negative short forms are: I haven’t been – you haven’t been – she hasn’t been
  • Been is the past participle of to be.
SUBJECT AUXILIARY VERB + NOT
BEEN PRESENT PARTICIPLE
I/You have not
been working
He/She/It has not been working
We/You/They have not been working

Interrogative

Its structure, in the interrogative form, is:
Have/has + subject + been + [verb + -ing] + …?

  • To Have: the third person singular changes from have to has;
  • Been is the past participle of to be.
AUXILIARY VERB SUBJECT BEEN PRESENT PARTICIPLE QUESTION MARK
Have I/You been working ?
Has He/She/It been working ?
Have We/You/They been working ?

Example

  1. Past actions that continue in the present (often used with for or since).
    • I have been thinking about her for decades.
    • She hasn’t been living together with Tom since 2008.
    • Have they been using this computer since 2003?
  2. Focus on the result of an unfinished action
    • You have been trying to fix the computer for 4 hours.
    • The grass is dry, it hasn’t been raining.
    • Have they been cooking for 2 hours?
  3. Repeated actions
    • I have been calling you all day.
    • He hasn’t been sending me friend requests for a month.
    • Have we been using the computer too much lately?

Use

We use present perfect continuous when we:

  1. Talk about actions that started in the past and continue in the present (very often used with for or since);
  2. Focus on the result of an action that has not finished yet;
  3. Refer to repeated actions.

Summary

We use the present perfect continuous to talk about situations which have started in the past and are still going on in the present or have just finished and still have effects on the present.

We can use it in its different forms:

  • Affirmative: We start with the subject followed by have been and a verb that ends with -ing. In the third person singular, we use has;
  • Negative: We start with the subject followed by have not and been and a verb that ends with -ing. In the third person singular, we use has not;
  • Interrogative: We start with have followed by the subject and been and a verb that ends with -ing (the sentence ends with a question mark). In the third person singular, we use has.

For example:
— Affirmative: “She has been working on important projects the last few months.”
— Negative: “She hasn’t been working on important projects the last few months.”
— Interrogative: “Has she been working on important projects the last few months?

NOTE: Been is the past participle of to be. {see Past Participle, A2 level}

For example:
— “I have been working on an important project for the last few months.” = We use the present perfect continuous to express progress (I started working in the past and I am still working).
I am working on an important project this month.” = We use the present continuous to express an action that takes place while talking (in that moment).
I work on important projects.” = We use the present simpletense to talk about a repeated action (I work regularly).

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

Exercises


License

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