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Present Perfect Continuous Tense - Questions

We have learned that the present perfect continuous is a combination of the present perfect tense and the present continuous tense and that it is used in two ways.

1. We use it to talk about something that started in the past, but it still happening now.
  • We have been exercising for 2 hours.
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 raining. The ground is wet.
In the previous lesson, we studied how to make yes/no questions. In this lesson, we will see how to make questions using question words.

Questions starting with "how long" are the most common and important question used with the present perfect continuous tense.

How long + have/has + subject + been + verb(-ing)...?
  • How long have you been reading that book?
  • How long have you been waiting here?
  • How long has she been sleeping?
  • How long has he been working here?
These questions are asking for an amount of time.

A) How long have you been watching TV?
B) I have been watching TV since you went to work. So, I have been watching TV for 9 hours.

A) How long has she been reading?
B) She's been reading for a couple of hours.

We can also make questions with other question words.

Question Word + have/has + subject + been + verb(-ing)...?
  • What have you been doing since this morning?
  • What has he been doing since the last time I saw him?
  • Where has she been going after work lately?
  • Why have you been spreading rumors about me?
  • How have you been getting good grades on your tests? You never study!
Remember that sometimes "what" or "who" can be the subject of the sentence. Also, the noun in "how many + noun" can also be the subject of a question. In these cases, the question pattern will look like this.

Who + has + been + verb(-ing)...?
What + has + been + verb(-ing)...?
How many + nouns + have + been + verb(-ing)...?
  • Who has been eating my cookies?
  • What has been making that noise?
  • How many people have been sharing this computer?
People sometimes practice sentences more than questions. Make sure you practice making questions a lot. If you do not know how to ask questions in English, then it is hard to have a fun and natural conversation in English.

Example Questions
  • How long have you been surfing?
  • How long have you been surfing today?
  • How long have you been studying English?
  • How long have you been studying English today?
  • How long have you been dating him?
  • How long have we been waiting?
  • How long have we been seeing each other? (seeing each other = dating)
  • How long have Nick and James been playing basketball?
  • How long have the children been watching TV?
  • How long have they been arguing?

  • How long has he been crying?
  • How long has she been smoking?
  • How long has Nick been thinking about quitting his job?
  • How long has it been raining?
  • How long has it been snowing?
  • How long has he been working on that novel?
  • How long has she been sitting there?
  • How long has the restaurant been offering discounts for children?
  • How long has the store been offering these coats at a 50% discount?
  • How long has the computer been making that strange sound?

  • What have you been doing since the last time we met?
  • What has he been doing for the past 2 years?
  • What have you been looking at on your phone?
  • What have you been laughing at?
  • Who has been eating my lunch out of the refrigerator?
  • What has she been preparing for dinner?
  • How have they been playing video games for so long?
  • How have you been studying since yesterday without sleeping at all?
  • What book have you been reading?
  • What food has she been making all day?
English Conversation 1

A) How long have you been studying English here?
B) I've been studying here for about 3 months.
A) Do you like it?
B) Everybody is nice, but I wish that my English would improve faster.
A) Learning English takes a long time and it can be very frustrating.

English Conversation 2

A) What have you been doing lately?
B) Nothing special. Just working and having fun when I can.
A) Have you been exercising? You look good.
B) I have been doing yoga.
A) That's great. How long have you been doing that?
B) It's been about 3 months, so I am still a beginner.

Learn to speak better English by simply doing this basic practice exercise. First, complete the questions with your own answers, and then practice making your own questions.

Tip: Say the questions aloud. This will help you practice speaking English and improve your English fluency.

How long have you been _______________?
How long has she been _______________?
How long has your company been _______________?
How long have they been _______________?
What have you been doing since _______________?
What have you been _______________ for the last _______________?
What has he been _______________ since _______________?
Who has been _______________?

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