ElementaryIntermediate


PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS TENSE

Present Perfect Continuous

FORM

AFFIRMATIVE
I have been playing
You have been playing
He/she/it has been playing
We have been playing
You have been playing
They have been playing

NEGATIVE
I have not been playing
You have not been playing
He/she/it has not been playing
We have not been playing
You have not been playing
They have not been playing

QUESTION
Have I been playing?
Have you been playing?
Has he/she/it been playing?
Have we been playing?
Have you been playing?
Have they been playing?


FUNCTIONS AND EXAMPLES
We use the present perfect continuous:
1 to talk about an action or event that started in the past and is still happening now

I've been waiting for over an hour. (I'm still waiting now)
It's been snowing since 8am. (It's still snowing now)
You've been playing a lot of tennis recently

2 We often use "How long" in questions

How long have you been learning English? (You started learning in the past and are still learning now)

3 to talk about an activity or event that has recently finished and has a result now

She's tired becuase she's been working hard
I have no money left because I've been shopping

4 to focus on the action and not on the completion of the action

COMPARE:
She's been writing a book (focus on the action)
She's written a book (present perfect simple - focus on the result)
They've been negotiating the contract (focus on the action, it's not important if it's finished or not)
They've negotiated the contract (present perfect simple - focus on the result, the negotiation is finished)


IMPORTANT POINTS

When the action or event is more temporary, we often use the present perfect continuous, and when it is more permanent, we often use the present perfect simple

COMPARE:
They've lived in Italy for may years (Present perfect simple)
I've been living here for a month (Present perfect continuous)

Some verbs are not normally used in the present perfect continuous tense. These verbs include: believe, belong, depend, hate, know, like, love, mean, need, prefer, realise, suppose, want, understand

I've known him for ten years
NOT: I've been knowing him for ten years
I've belonged to the tennis club for 25 years
NOT: I've been belonging to the tennis club for 25 years

   
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