present_perfect_continuous

Present perfect continuous

Present perfect continuous (also known as the present perfect progressive)

present_perfect_continuousPresent perfect tenses are used to talk about situations that connect the past to now.

Present perfect continuous is formed using:

have / has + been + [verb] + ing

For example:

I have been running.

Have you been running?

He has been studying?

Has he been studying?

Do you know when to use present perfect simple and when to use present perfect continuous?

Read the information that follows to check your ideas…..

When to use present perfect continuous instead of present perfect simple

1. Using present perfect continuous to focus on a recent but unfinished activity

Look at these examples.

I have been reading that book you gave me. (present perfect continuous)

I have read the book you gave me. (present perfect simple)

In the present perfect continuous sentence, the person is focussing on the recent action of reading. Using present perfect continuous does not tell us that the reading is actually finished – the person wants to emphasise their recent activities.

In the present perfect simple sentence, the person is focussing on the recently completed activity. Using present perfect tells us that the reading is finished with a present result (nothing left to read in the book).

2. Using present perfect continuous to focus on the duration of a recent activity (how long) instead of quantity (how much)

Compare these two sentences.

I have been reading the book you gave me all afternoon. (present perfect continuous)

I have read four chapters of the book you gave me. (present perfect simple)

In the present perfect continuous sentence, the person is focussing on the recent action of reading and the time they have spent doing it, using present perfect continuous does not tell us that the reading is actually finished, the person wants to emphasise their recent activities and the length of time spent doing it.

In the present perfect simple sentence, the person is focussing on the recently completed activity and quantity completed. Using present perfect tells us that they have finished four chapters of their book.

BUT some verbs in this situation could be used in both forms to talk about duration.

For example: I have studied English for 4 years / I have been studying English for four years.

3. Using present perfect continuous where a recent activity is more temporary

Compare these two sentences.

I usually work in Auckland, but for the last month I have been working in Wellington. (present perfect continuous)

I have worked for the same company since I left school. (present perfect simple)

In the present perfect continuous sentence, the person is focussing on the recent action of working in Wellington, but use of present perfect continuous there instead of present perfect simple in the second sentence indicates that the work situation is more temporary.

Please help us reach more people by sharing!

Comments