All You Need To Know About The Present Perfect Continuous

We’ve been thinking that you’re here to learn about the present perfect continuous, right? Well, look no further. In this article, we’re going to show you how to form the present perfect continuous tense, how it functions, and give you a wealth of examples.

The present perfect continuous or present perfect progressive is a particular type of tense in English. It is used for the following:

  • To refer to actions that started in the past and continue.
  • To reflect on finished actions.
  • To emphasize the duration of an action.
Present Perfect Continuous Example

Present Perfect Continuous: Statements and Examples

The present perfect continuous, like most tenses, can be stated in the affirmative, negative, affirmative interrogative, and negative interrogative.

Present Perfect Continuous: Affirmative 

The present perfect continuous tense can be made into an affirmative statement. This means that it’s a positive sentence confirming the action taken.

Present perfect continuous affirmative statements are formed by following this structure:

Subject + has/ have + been + base verb + ing (suffix) + extra information (if required)

Example sentences:

  • She has been running.
  • He has been traveling.
  • They have been playing in the garden.
  • We’ve been living in Brooklyn for 2 years.
  • I’ve been tuning my guitar.

Present Perfect Continuous: Negative

The present perfect continuous tense can also be formed in the negative. These sentences state that something is negative. In English, we form negative clauses by adding -not after the auxiliary verb, ‘has/have been.’

 Let’s take a look at the following structure:

Subject + has/ have + been + -not + base verb+ ing (suffix) + extra information (if required)

Example sentences:

  • I haven’t been working; I’ve been relaxing.
  • She hasn’t been swimming for years!
  • I haven’t been traveling for that long.
  • We haven’t been waiting long.
  • Mary hasn’t been working for the last couple of weeks.
  • She has not been answering her phone.

Note: We normally use contractions when forming a negative present perfect continuous sentence. This is because it flows better; however, you don’t always have to.

Present Perfect Continuous: Affirmative Interrogative

Affirmative interrogative clauses ask questions. They are positive and usually expect the response to be ‘yes.’ They follow the structure below in the present perfect continuous tense:

Has/ have + been + subject + base verb + ing (suffix) + extra information (if required) + ? 

Example sentences:

  • Has Sally been working today?
  • Have you ever been traveling?
  • Have you been breaking things again?
  • Have Todd and Emily (they) been causing mischief?
  • Has she been playing with her friends?
  • Have you been building this house for a long time?

Present Perfect Continuous: Negative Interrogative

Negative interrogative clauses also ask questions, but the expected response is usually ‘no.’

We form the present perfect continuous as a negative interrogative statement like this:

Has/ have + been + -not + subject + base verb+ ing (suffix) + extra information (if required) + ? 

Example sentences:

  • Hasn’t she been napping?
  • Haven’t you been swimming?
  • Haven’t they been waiting?
  • Have you not been working all this time?
  • Haven’t they been listening?
  • Hasn’t he been sharing with his friends?

Using Adverbs With The Present Perfect Continuous Tense

The present perfect continuous tense can be used with adverbs, specifically adverbs of time or frequency, as these express how long the action verb has been going on and gives context to the sentence.

You can use the following expressions of time:

  • Often
  • Long
  • Much
  • For
  • Since
  • All
  • Day
  • Morning
  • Night
  • Afternoon

Example sentences:

  • Haven’t you been working all day?
  • I’ve been studying since this morning.
  • Have you been waiting for a long time?
  • I have been training to be a doctor for 7 years.
  • Grandma has been napping all afternoon!
  • Amazon has been delivering books to customers since 1994.
  • Instagram has been working since 2010.
  • They have been worrying about you all week.

Tips and Tricks When Using The Present Perfect Continuous

  • When adding -ing to an action verb, make note of what letter the base verb ends in. For example, if the verb ends in ‘e,’ we eliminate the -e and add -ing. Example: ‘dance becomes dancing, not danceing.’
  • When an action verb ends in a consonant sound, in British English, they sometimes repeat the last letter and add
    -ing. Example: ‘Cancel becomes cancelling, not canceling.
  • However, in American English, this rule doesn’t always apply. There are also a few inconsistencies, such as, ‘pull becomes pulling, not pullling with three ‘Ls.’
  • Remember to use the suffix -ing when forming a present perfect continuous sentence. It’s not; ‘it has been rain all day. It would be; it has been raining all day!’

Verbs Without A Continuous Form

Some verbs are rarely used in the continuous form, as they are normally verbs that you can’t see someone doing. When using these verbs, we normally follow the present perfect simple structure. For example:

  • Want
  • Cost
  • Need
  • Owe
  • Exist
  • Belong
  • Need
  • Fear
  • Envy
  • Dislike
  • Possess

And that’s it. You’ve been learning about the present perfect continuous tense. If you’re after more grammar help, we have a wide range of topics for you to explore!

More Verb Tense Topics: