The Present Perfect Continuous

   

 
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General English
Grammar

Welcome to your Present Perfect Continuous lesson! In this topic we talk about:
• When do we use the Present Perfect Continuous?
Other uses of the Present Perfect Continuous
The Present continuous vs. the Present Perfect Continuous
Take the quizzes when you’re ready! If you’re having problems, use the comment box to contact our English Teachers.

When do we use the Present Perfect Continuous?

Have a look at this conversation:

“The ground is wet. Is it raining?”
“It’s not raining now, but it has been raining.”

The present perfect continuous is used to talk about something that has recently stopped. Have a look at these examples:

“Oh, there you are! I‘ve been looking for you everywhere.”

“I‘ve been looking for a good restaurant, but I can’t find one.”

“Why are you so dirty? Have you been gardening?”

“I’m sorry I’m so sweaty, I‘ve just been running.”

“She is so tired, she‘s been working really hard.”

Other uses of the Present Perfect Continuous

Have a look at this situation:

It’s raining now. The rain started six hours ago:

“It has been raining for six hours.”

The present perfect continuous is also used to talk about something that started in the past, but hasn’t stopped. Here are some more examples:

Bob is working now. He started working at 9am:

“Bob has been working since 9am.”

“How long has he been working?” “For six hours.”

Notice that we used the key words: “since”, “for” and “how long..?”.

The Present Perfect Continuous is also used to talk about actions that repeated over a period of time:

“I smoke twenty cigarettes a day. I‘ve been smoking since I was eighteen.”

“We are really good hikers. We have been hiking for twelve years.”

The Present continuous vs. the Present Perfect Continuous

Present Continuous Present Perfect Continuous

“Leave me alone, I’m working.”
(now)

“I’ve been working a lot.”
(recently)

“Oh, no. It’s raining again!”
(now)

“It’s been raining, my car is wet.”
(the rain just stopped)

“We’re hiking in the mountains.”
(now)

“We’ve been hiking, now we’re really tired.”
(we’re not hiking now)

Recap

  • The Present Perfect Continuous is used to talk about something that has recently stopped.
  • With “since”, “for”, and “how long…?” the Present Perfect Continuous is used to talk about something that started in the past and hasn’t finished yet.
  • It is also used to talk about actions that repeated over a period of time.
  • Do not confuse this tense with the Present Continuous, which is used to talk about now.