The Present Perfect Continuous uses two  auxiliary verbs together with a main verb.

In this lesson we look at the structure and use  of the Present Perfect Continuous tense, as well as the use of for and since , followed by a quiz  to check your understanding.

Note that continuous  tenses are also called progressive  tenses. So the Present Perfect Continuous tense is sometimes called the Present Perfect Progressive tense.

How do we make the Present Perfect Continuous tense?

The structure of the Present Perfect Continuous tense is:

subject+auxiliary have+auxiliary be+main verb
  conjugated in Present Simple past participle  
have, hasbeenpresent participle

The first auxiliary (have) is conjugated in the Present Simple: have, has

The second auxiliary (be) is invariable in past participle form: been

The main verb is invariable in present participle form: -ing

For negative sentences we insert not  after the first auxiliary verb.

For question sentences, we exchange  the subject and first auxiliary verb.

Look at these example sentences with the Present Perfect Continuous tense:

 subjectauxiliary verb auxiliary verbmain verb 
+Ihave beenwaitingfor one hour.
+Youhave beentalkingtoo much.
-Ithasnotbeenraining. 
-Wehavenotbeenplayingfootball.
?Haveyou beenseeingher?
?Havethey beendoingtheir homework?

Contraction with Present Perfect Continuous

When we use the Present Perfect Continuous tense in speaking, we often contract the subject and the first auxiliary verb. We also sometimes do this in informal writing.

I have beenI've been
You have beenYou've been
He has been
She has been
It has been
John has been
The car has been
He's been
She's been
It's been
John's been
The car's been
We have beenWe've been
They have beenThey've been
  • I've been reading.
  • Jenny's been helping us recently.

In negative sentences, we may contract the first auxiliary verb and "not":

  • I haven't been playing tennis.
  • It hasn't been snowing.

How do we use the Present Perfect Continuous tense?

This tense is called the Present  Perfect Continuous tense. There is usually a connection with the present  or now.

We use the Present Perfect Continuous to talk about:

  • past action recently-stopped
  • past action still-continuing

Present Perfect Continuous for past action just stopped

We use the Present Perfect Continuous tense to talk about action  that started in the past and stopped recently. There is usually a result now.

I'm tired because I've been running.
pastpresentfuture
 
!!! 
Recent actionResult now 
  • I'm tired¬†[now] ¬†because I've been running.
  • Why is the grass wet¬†[now]?¬†Has¬†it¬† been raining?
  • You don't understand¬†[now] ¬†because you¬†haven't¬† been listening.

Present Perfect Continuous for past action continuing now

We use the Present Perfect Continuous tense to talk about action  that started in the past and is continuing now . This is often used with for or since.

I  have been reading for 2 hours.
pastpresentfuture
 
 
Action started in past.Action is continuing now. 
  • I¬† have been reading for¬†2 hours. (I am still reading now.)
  • We 've been studying since¬†9 o'clock. (We're still studying now.)
  • How long¬†have¬†you¬† been learning¬†English? (You are still learning now.)
  • We¬†have¬†not¬† been smoking. (And we are not smoking now.)

For and Since  with Present Perfect Continuous tense

We often use for and since  with perfect tenses:

  • We use¬†for ¬†to talk about a¬†period ¬†of time:¬†three hours, two months, one decade
  • We use¬†since ¬†to talk about a¬†point ¬†in past time:¬†9 o'clock, 1st January, Monday
forsince
a period of timea point in past time
- - - - - - - - - - - -- ‚ÄĘ - - - - - - - - - -
30 minutes10.00am
four daysFriday
3 monthsMarch
2 years2010
3 centuries1700
agesI left school
everthe beginning of time
etcetc

Look at these example sentences using for and since  with the Present Perfect Continuous tense:

  • I have been studying¬†for ¬†three hours.
  • I have been watching TV¬†since¬†7pm.
  • Tara hasn't been feeling well¬†for ¬†two weeks.
  • Tara hasn't been visiting us¬†since¬†March.
  • He has been playing football¬†for ¬†a long time.
  • He has been living in Bangkok¬†since ¬†he left school.
For  can be used with all tenses. Since  is usually used with perfect tenses only.

sources : Original Link