Present Perfect Continuous
The present perfect continuous tense is a useful tense in English grammar. Why? Because it connects the present and the past. Let's see how.
What Is present perfect continuous Tense?
The present perfect continuous tense (also called present perfect progressive) just like present perfect simple can be used to talk about past actions or states which are still connected to the present.
Their difference is that the present perfect simple normally focuses on the result of the activity, and the present perfect continuous normally focuses on the process of the activity. Let's compare these examples:
Here the tense of the sentence is present perfect, therefore the focus is on the result.
Here the tense of the sentence is present perfect continuous, therefore the focus is on the activity.
Present Perfect Continuous: Structure
The present perfect continuous is comprised of the present perfect of the verb 'to be' (have/has been), and the present participle of the main verb (verb+ing).
When we use the present perfect continuous tense in speaking, we often contract the subject and auxiliary verb 'have.'
Present Perfect Continuous: Negation
For negative sentences you put 'not' between the auxiliary verb 'have' and the auxiliary verb 'be.'
It has been raining. → It has
We have been playing in the park. → We have
In negative sentences, we can contract the auxiliary verb 'have' and 'not.' See the examples:
Present Perfect Continuous: Questions
For yes/no questions sentences, we change the place of the subject and 'have.' Look at these example sentences with the present perfect continuous tense:
For wh- question sentences, do the exact thing you do for yes/no questions and add the proper wh- question word at the beginning of the sentence and omit the part that is the answer.
I have been living
here 'in London' is the answer therefore, it is omitted.
If you want to learn more about spelling rules of adding -ing to the base form of verbs, see here.
Present Perfect Continuous: Uses
When someone uses the present perfect continuous, they are thinking about:
- Recently-Finished Past Actions
- Still-ongoing Past Actions
- Temporary Situations
Recently-Finished Past Actions
We use the 'present perfect continuous tense' to talk about actions that have stopped recently, but we are interested in the results. It means the result is still obvious, but remember in this case, the focus is on the action, not the result. For example:
I'm tired because I
Why are you wet?
Still-ongoing Past Actions
We use the 'present perfect continuous tense' to talk about an action that started in the past and is continuing now. This is often used with for or since. In this case, it is important to know that the action is still ongoing. Remember, we are referring to the duration of the action so, we do not use time expressions to make clear how many times the action was done. Check out the examples.
It means she's still waiting now.
It means the speaker still hasn't finished it.
For and Since
We use 'since' with a fixed point in time in the past (2004, April 23rd, last year). The past simple tense indicates an action that took place at a fixed point in time. (since I was at school; since I arrived). We use 'for' with a period of time (2 hours, three years, six months). Take a look at the following examples.
I have been studying
Joe hasn't been visiting us
Actions or States
We use the 'present perfect continuous tense' to suggest states or actions that may change. For example:
We use the 'present perfect tense' to refer to new developments that you believe, may be temporary and you think they are about to change again. Check out the following examples for more clarification.
When Not to Use Present Perfect Continuous Tense
We do not normally use the continuous with stative verbs (also called non-continuous verbs). These verbs are normally used in the simple form because they refer to states, rather than actions or progress. Use the simple present perfect with verbs such as 'know, hate, hear, understand, want.'
Now that you followed the article you must know that the present continuous tense is mainly used when we are:
- talking about recently finished past actions.
- talking about actions which started in the past and are still continuing even now.
Structure, Contraction, Affirmative, Negative, and Question Forms
|structure||subject + have/has + been + v + -ing|
- What Is present perfect continuous Tense?
- When Not to Use Present Perfect Continuous Tense