The Present Perfect Simple and the Present Perfect Continuous

   

 
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages
Filter by Categories
General English
Grammar

Welcome to your Present Perfect Simple and Present Perfect Continuous lesson! In this topic we talk about:
• What’s the difference between the Present Perfect Simple and the Present Perfect Continuous?
Asking questions
State Verbs
Take the quizzes when you’re ready! If you’re having problems, use the comment box to contact our English Teachers.

What’s the difference between the Present Perfect Simple and Continuous?

Have a look at this example:

paintingwoman

Sarah is covered in paint.

wall

The wall is white, it used to be beige.

“She has been painting the wall.”

“She has painted the wall.”

This sentence uses the Present Perfect Continuous. This sentence uses the Present Perfect Simple.
In this example, we are interested in the activity. It is not mentioned if the action is finished or not. In this case, however, the activity is not finished. In this example, we are interested in the fact that an action has been completed. The most important part of this sentence is the completed activity.

Here are some more examples:

“My trousers are dirty, I have been planting some flowers.”

“The garden looks lovely. I have planted some flowers.”

“Where have you been? Have you been playing dominoes?”

Have you ever played dominoes?”

“You have been drinking too much recently, you should slow down a little.”

“Someone has drunk all my beer!”

“Lovely to see you again, what have you been doing?”

“Where’s the pen I lent you? What have you done with it?”

Asking questions

Have a look at these examples:

The Present Perfect Continuous is used with how long”.
(for an activity that is still happening)
The Present Perfect Simple is used with “how much”, “how many” or “how many times”.
(for completed actions)

How long have you been smoking?”

How many cigars have you smoked today?”

“I’ve been working all day.”

Have you worked this week?”

“They’ve been staying at the beach since Thursday.”

“They’ve been to the beach twice this week.”

“I haven’t been learning English for long.”

“I haven’t learnt much English yet.”

State Verbs

Don’t forget that State Verbs cannot be used with the continuous form.

Recap

  • With the Present Perfect Continuous, we are interested in the activity.
  • With the Present Perfect Simple, we are interested in the fact that an action has been completed.
  • With questions in the continuous form, we want to know how long an action has been happening.
  • With questions in the simple form, we want to know how many times something has happened.