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#4 Present Perfect Continuous - The Tenses In English - English Free Test

#4 Present Perfect Continuous - The Tenses In English - English Free Test


I) An Introducton

Usually, Present Perfect Continuous Tense is used for a situation that has occurred in the past and which continues until that moment.

Examples
  • They have been talking for the last hour.
  • She has been working at that company for three years.
  • What have you been doing for the last 30 minutes?
  • James has been teaching at the university since June.
  • We have been waiting here for over two hours!
  • Why has Nancy not been taking her medicine for the last three days?
Structure
[has/have + been + present participle]
  • Use the first form of the verb + " - ing"
  • Singular subject (has been), Plural subject or I (have been)
  • 'Since' - if the point of time is mentioned.
  • 'For' - if the duration of time is specified.

II) Description

Positive, Negative, Question Forms
Positive Question Negative
I have (I've) been living here for two years.
He has (he's) been waiting for you.
Have you been living here for a long time?
What has she been doing?
I have not (haven't) been waiting for long.
He has not (hasn't) been working.
They've (They have) been living in this flat for more than five years.
Have they been living here for a long time? They haven't (have not) been living in this flat for very long.
Common Mistakes
Common mistakes Correct version Why?
It has been rain heavily all day. It has been raining heavily all day. The structure of the present perfect continuous is have/has been -ing.
I have sat here for two hours. I have been sitting here for two hours. Verbs such as sit, wait, speak, etc. (non-stative verbs) suggest continuity and so are mostly used in the continuous (-ing) form.
Which?
I have worked here for five years.
I have been working here for five years.
When BOTH the simple and continuous forms are possible, native speakers prefer to use the continuous.

III) Usages

1. Duration from the Past Until Now

We use the Present Perfect Continuous to show that something started in the past and has continued up until now. "For five minutes," "for two weeks," and "since Tuesday" are all durations which can be used with the Present Perfect Continuous.

Examples:
  • They have been talking for the last hour.
  • She has been working at that company for three years.
  • What have you been doing for the last 30 minutes?
  • James has been teaching at the university since June.
  • We have been waiting here for over two hours!
  • Why has Nancy not been taking her medicine for the last three days?
2. Recently, Lately

You can also use the Present Perfect Continuous WITHOUT a duration such as "for two weeks." Without the duration, the tense has a more general meaning of "lately." We often use the words "lately" or "recently" to emphasize this meaning.

Examples:
  • Recently, I have been feeling really tired.
  • She has been watching too much television lately.
  • Have you been exercising lately?
  • Mary has been feeling a little depressed.
  • Lisa has not been practicing her English.
  • What have you been doing?
IMPORTANT

Remember that the Present Perfect Continuous has the meaning of "lately" or "recently." If you use the Present Perfect Continuous in a question such as "Have you been feeling alright?", it can suggest that the person looks sick or unhealthy. A question such as "Have you been smoking?" can suggest that you smell the smoke on the person. Using this tense in a question suggests you can see, smell, hear or feel the results of the action. It is possible to insult someone by using this tense incorrectly.

REMEMBER Non-Continuous Verbs/ Mixed Verbs

It is important to remember that Non-Continuous Verbs cannot be used in any continuous tenses. Also, certain non-continuous meanings for Mixed Verbs cannot be used in continuous tenses. Instead of using Present Perfect Continuous with these verbs, you must use Present Perfect.

Examples:
  • Sam has been having his car for two years. Not Correct
  • Sam has had his car for two years. Correct
ADVERB PLACEMENT

The examples below show the placement for grammar adverbs such as: always, only, never, ever, still, just, etc.

Examples:
  • You have only been waiting here for one hour.
  • Have you only been waiting here for one hour?
ACTIVE / PASSIVE
Examples:
  • Recently, John has been doing the work. Active
  • Recently, the work has been being done by John. Passive

NOTE: Present Perfect Continuous is less commonly used in its passive form.

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