Present Perfect Continuous Tense

Structure: subject + has/have + been + -ing form of the verb

  • I have been gardening since morning.
  • She has been waiting for two hours.
  • The child has been sleeping for two hours.
  • I have been waiting for ages.
  • The children have been preparing for their exam for two months.

The present perfect continuous tense is used to talk about an action which began at sometime in the past and is still continuing.

  • I have been working since morning. (= I am still working.)
  • We have been living here since 2001. (= We are still living here.)
  • My brother has been serving in the army for ten years.

Notes: The sentence ‘I have been working since morning’ often means the same as ‘I have worked since morning’. When we use the present perfect tense, the emphasis is on the idea of completion whereas when we use the present perfect continuous tense, the emphasis is on the idea of continuity.

Note that we normally have to use the present perfect or present perfect continuous tense with the time expressions since and for.

  • I have been reading for two hours. (NOT I am reading for two hours)
  • We have been waiting for a bus since morning. (NOT We are waiting for a bus since morning.)
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