Present perfect continuous

A very important tense used in English is the “present perfect continuous” tense. By now you should all know how to use the “present perfect” tense which was studied in unit 85 of the ABA course. If not, just go back and take a look at it to refresh your memory.

The present perfect continuous is used to talk about how long something has happened or how long something has been happening until the present time. It talks about an action or situation which started in the past at an unspecified time until the present moment.

The present perfect continuous tense is formed in the following way:

  • Subject+have/has+been+ing


Mike has been teaching English for 5 years (he started in the past and is still teaching)

Let’s look at some more examples:

Has she been studying a lot since she arrived in England
Yes, she has been studying a lot, but I haven’t!

Remember, to form the interrogative the auxiliary verb “have” goes in the front of the sentence.

However, the auxiliary “have” is placed after the expression “how long” for questions regarding time.

– How long have you been living in Australia?
– I have been living in Australia for 6 months

The present perfect continuous is often used with the words “for” and “since” to talk about duration or time.

Kevin has been working here for 5 years (duration)
Kevin has been working here since 2001 (when he started)

Finally, the present perfect continuous is used for actions which have recently finished and the results can be seen, felt, heard..etc

I’m so tired, I have been working all day
It’s been raining so the street is wet

Well everyone, we hope that this post has explained clearly how and when you should use the present perfect continuous in English. If you would like to continue improving your English skills, try our free trial:

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