The Present Perfect Progressive Verb Tense in English

The present perfect progressive or present perfect continuous is used in English to indicate actions initiated in the past which have just ended or of which it is not known with certainty if they are still in progress. The emphasis is on the development of the action and not on its outcome.

It is formed using the present perfect of the auxiliary verb followed by the present participle of the main verb.

It has been raining all day long.

The negative form is formed with the auxiliary in the negative form of the present perfect followed by the present participle of the main verb.

It hasn’t been raining.

The interrogative form is as follows:

Has it been raining today?

Hasn’t it been raining today?

Uses of the Present Perfect Progressive

The present perfect progressive is used to show:

  • Actions that were initiated in the past and which have probably not been fully concluded at the time they are mentioned.

They have been talking all day.

  • Actions that have just ended but whose effects are evident.

She has been cooking all morning. And look at the delicious food she has prepared!

  • Phrases with for and since or interrogative phrases introduced by the interrogative phrase how long…?

How long have you been practicing tennis?

I have been practicing tennis since I was 14 years old.

  • Repeated actions of a short duration.

She has been jumping all around the house.

Special Features

The present perfect progressive can only be constructed with the following types of verbs:

  • Actions: eat, study, go, do, etc.
  • Dynamic conditions: grow, change, mature, etc.
  • Physical sensations: ache, feel, itch, etc.

On the other hand, it does not apply to the following types of verbs:

  • States or conditions that do not change: be, mean, cost, etc.
  • Opinions or perceptions: consider, prefer, love, like, know, etc.
  • Volition: want, wish, desire, etc.

In general, the present perfect progressive can be used with all verbs that express movement while for the static conditions it is necessary to resort to the present perfect.

I have worked at Gemo for 25 years.

In the above sentence, it is understood that the speaker has worked for the same company for many years. It is a static situation.

I have been working on this project all day.

In this sentence, on the other hand, it is understood that the speaker has dedicated themselves to a single project for the entire day. It is a brief temporary action finalized in the period of one day.

The present perfect progressive is a verb form that is widely used in everyday conversations. It may seem a bit difficult at first, but a few exercises will be enough to familiarize yourself with this verb form that is so dynamic and rich in meaning. If you do not know where to start, why not try the ABA English online course? We offer 144 free video classes and interactive material that will help you learn English using a natural method that will make it easier for you to use the language for each communicative need that may arise.

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