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Overview of Present Perfect Continuous Tense

The present perfect continuous tense is a combination of the present perfect and the present continuous tenses.

1. We use it to talk about something that started in the past, but it still happening now.

We can usually use either the present perfect or the present perfect continuous.
  • I have worked here since 2010.
  • I have been working here since 2010.
Both sentences mean that I started working here in 2010, and I still work here.

Here is the sentence pattern.

Subject + have/has + been + verb(-ing)...

We can only use action verbs with present perfect continuous. These kinds of sentences will always have a period of time. We use "for" and "since" a lot with this verb tense.
  • They have been talking for a long time.
  • He has been sleeping for 12 hours.
  • I have been studying all day.
If we need or want to use a noun, adjective, or prepositional phrase, then we need to use the present perfect.
  • They have been friends since they were young.
  • She has been a lawyer for 12 years.
2. We can also use the present perfect continuous tense to talk about actions that have just finished when we can still see the results.
  • It has been snowing.
    (We can still see snow on the ground)

  • He has been exercising.
    (He is sweating and is wearing exercise clothes)

  • They have been fighting.
    (They look angry and aren't talking to each other)
3. We can make yes/no questions by using this pattern.

Have/has + subject + been + verb(-ing)...?

These questions usually contain "since", "for", or some other time expression.
  • Have you been waiting for me for a long time?
  • Has he been studying all day?
  • Have they been watching TV since this morning?
4. We can also make questions with question words.

Question Word + have/has + subject + been + verb(-ing)...?
  • What have you been doing since this morning?
  • What has she been doing for the last 2 months?
  • What have they been doing all day?
5. The most common questions that we use with verb tense starts with "How long".

How long + have/has + subject + been + verb(-ing)...?
  • How long have you been waiting for me?
  • How long has she been working here?
  • How long have they been playing?
These kinds of sentences are used quite often when speaking English and it is definitely worth your time to study them. In the upcoming free English grammar lessons, we will cover the present perfect continuous verb tense in more detail.

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