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Present Perfect Continuous Tense Structure and Examples




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The present perfect continuous tense has a single meaning. It is used to express actions that have been happening over time until now.

Formation of Present Perfect Continuous Tense 

We make the present perfect continuous tense using has been or have been and continuous form (the present participle) of the main verb. 

Structure of the Present Perfect Continuous Tense 

Positive Sentences 

Structure: Subject + has/have + been + verb-ing + Object + since/for…….

Examples
  • He has been editing videos all day.
  • I have been working for eight hours.
  • She has been studying English since 8 o’clock.
  • She has been watering plants for thirty minutes.
  • The passenger has been waiting for the bus for over three hours.
  • He looks tired. I think he has been working a lot.
  • He has been sleeping all day.
  • No student can leave the school early because the gatekeeper has been sitting in front of the gate all day.

Negative Sentences 

We make the present perfect continuous tense negative using by inserting the word not after have or has. They are often contracted as haven’t and hasn’t.

Structure: Subject + has/have + not + been + verb-ing + Object + since/for……

Examples
  • The baby has not been sleeping for six hours.
  • My computer has not been working correctly.
  • I haven’t been studying English tenses for two months.
  • She has not been going quickly.
  • He hasn’t been living in Paris for very long.
  • Ahmad has not been buying a new dress for ages.
  • I haven’t been sleeping a lot lately.
  • The wind has not been blowing all morning strongly.

Interrogative Sentences 

Interrogative in present perfect continuous tense is formed by inverting the auxiliary have or has with the subject.

Structure: Has/Have + Subject + been + verb-ing + Object + since/for……...

Examples
  • Has he been playing cricket since morning?
  • Why has he been rejecting it?
  • Where have they been studying together?
  • Has she been using my bike?
  • Have you been watching movies lately?
  • Why are your clothes dirty? Have you been painting the house?
  • Has the teacher been lecturing since 9 am?
To make negative interrogative sentences insert the word, not after the subject.

  • Why haven’t you been lying to him?
  • Has Babar not been running today?

Note: Non-action or stative verbs do not use in any continuous tense.

Uses of the Present Perfect Continuous Tense 

Please read this short passage to understand how do we use the present perfect continuous tense.

Ali, my classmate, went to school and sat down at his desk in the classroom at 9 o’clock. The time is now nine-forty-five, and he is still sitting there. We use the present perfect continuous tense for this situation to describe how long Ali has been sitting in the classroom before now.

  • Ali has been sitting in the classroom since 9 o’clock (and is still sitting).
  • Ali has been sitting in the classroom for forty-five minutes.

Present perfect continuous tense express actions started in the past (anytime before now) and continued up to now (unfinished) and may extend into the future. The duration of time is usually specified in the present continuous tense using the prepositions ‘since’ to emphasize when an event began or ‘for’ with a period of time. The duration of time sometimes does not specify at all.

It also describes actions that have been going on for some time in the past, and the result is visible in the present or the action that has just finished.

Examples
  • He’s out of breath. Has he been running? (he is out of breath now)
  • She has been washing the clothes all day. She is exhausted! (past activity present result)

Present Perfect Continuous & Present Perfect Difference

For some verbs, the present perfect and present perfect continuous tense have no difference in meaning; either one can be used. However, the present perfect should not be used for every action continued until now. The present perfect continuous tense is commonly used with a length of time, i.e., for two hours, for a few months, since morning, etc. On the other hand, the presentperfect tense may or may not take the length of time. In the present perfect continuous, we focus on the action and its duration, while in the present perfect, we focus on the completion of the activity.

Present Perfect Present Perfect Continuous
I have studied for six months for a competitive exam. I have been studying for six months for a competitive exam.
I have read the novel. (I have read the whole novel) I have been reading the novel (I have not yet read all of the novels but read some part of it)
How long has her sister taught in this college? How long has her sister been teaching in this college?
Where’s the money I gave her? What has she done with that? How’s your sister? What has she been doing since I last met her?
She has been cooking rice. It will be ready soon. She has cooked rice. It’s ready now.

The present perfect continuous tense does not use to talk about quantity (how often or how many times someone has done something); instead, we used present perfect simple.

Examples
  • I have tried three times. (not trying)
  • He has appeared in the same paper twice. (not has been appearing)

The present perfect continuous tense cannot be used with stative verbs.

Example
  • The building has existed for fifty years. (not has been existing)

The words recently and lately are often used with the present perfect continuous tense.

  • He has known me for ten years.

Examples
  • My mother has been feeling ill recently.
  • Has he been doing something interesting lately? 

Present Perfect Continuous Tense Examples Sentences 

  • We have been monitoring the issue for hours.
  • She is dirty. She has been playing the game.
  • He has been teaching Urdu since she was 26.
  • He has been working here since 2015.
  • I have been solving puzzles for two hours.
  • Where are my shoes? I have been searching for it for hours.
  • I have been feeling ill recently.
  • She has been learning piano since I was 15.
  • His mother has been overeating. She must eat less!
  • Ahmad has been going to school late a lot.
  • She has not been trying for a new job since her divorce.
  • Who has been reading my personal messages?
  • When did you first drink wine? How long have you been drinking wine?
  • Mother has been walking her children in the park since five o’clock.

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