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Present Perfect Continuous Tense Definition and Examples

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.
You can also use the Present Perfect Continuous Tense 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.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense Definition and Examples
Present Perfect Continuous Tense Definition and Examples

Structure of Sentence

Positive: (Subject + has been/ have been + 1st form of verb + ing + Object +( time reference))

  • He has been watering the plants for two hours.

Negative: (Subject + has not/ have not + been + 1st from of verb + ing + Object + ( time reference))

  • He has not been watering the plants.

Interrogative: (Has/ have + Subject + been + 1st from of verb + ing + Object + ( time reference) + ?)

  • Has he been watering the plants?
  • Recently, I have been feeling really tired.
  • She has been watching too much television lately.

More uses of present perfect continuous tense:

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.
  • 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.

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 Tense with these verbs, you must use Present Perfect.

  • Sam has been having his car for two years. Not Correct
  • Sam has had his car for two years. Correct

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