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1. The present perfect continuous

The present perfect continuous shows that an action has taken place from a point in the past up to the present.
They've been playing all afternoon.
He's been practicing for two hours.

2. How is the present perfect continuous built?

  • Affirmative form
    Subject Auxiliary Been Verb (-ing) Examples
    I have
    've
    been waiting I have been waiting for two hours.
    You You have been waiting for two hours.
    He has
    's
    He has been waiting for two hours.
    She She has been waiting for two hours.
    It It has been waiting for two hours.
    We have
    've
    We have been waiting for two hours.
    You You have been waiting for two hours.
    They They have been waiting for two hours.
  • Negative form
    Subject AuxiliarY Been Verb (-ing) Examples
    I have not
    haven't
    been waiting I haven't been waiting for two hours.
    You You haven't been waiting for two hours.
    He has not
    hasn't
    He hasn't been waiting for two hours.
    She She hasn't been waiting for two hours.
    It It hasn't been waiting for two hours.
    We have not
    haven't
    We haven't been waiting for two hours.
    You You haven't been waiting for two hours.
    They They haven't been waiting for two hours.
  • Interrogative form
    AuxiliarY Subject Been Verb (-ing) Examples
    Have I been waiting? Have I been waiting for two hours?
    you Have you been waiting for two hours?
    Has he Has he been waiting for two hours?
    she Has she been waiting for two hours?
    it Has she been waiting for two hours?
    Have we Have we been waiting for two hours?
    you Have you been waiting for two hours?
    they Have they been waiting for two hours?

Interrogative sentences in the present perfect continuous also have their own short answers.

Adverb Subject Auxiliar
Yes, I have
you
he has
she
it
we have
you
they
Adverb Subject Auxiliar
No, I haven't
you
he hasn't
she
it
we haven't
you
they
- Have they been training until now?
- Yes, they have.

3. How is the present perfect continuous used?

The present perfect continuous is used for:

  • An action that began in the past and still continues in the present.
    I've been trying to sleep for half an hour.
    In this example the boy started trying to sleep an hour ago and he is still trying in the present.
    The turkey's been cooking for a good while.
  • An action that began in the past and has just ended. Usually you can see a result in the present.
    I'm tired. I've been correcting exams.
    In this example, she has just finished correcting, so the action has recently ended. Also, there is a result in the present which is that she is tired.
    She's been picking cherries.
    In this example, the result is the basket with cherries and the action of picking them has just ended.
The present perfect continuous is not used with state verbs.

Remember!

The present perfect continuous shows that an action has taken place from a point in the past up to the present.

Form Structure Examples
AFFIRMATIVE Subject + have / has + been + verb (-ing) + complement The baby has been sleeping for two hours.
NEGATIVE Subject + have / has + not + been + verb (-ing) + complement You're wrong; I haven't been playing computer games all afternoon.
INTERROGATIVE Have / has + subject + been + verb (-ing) + complement You are soaking wet. What have you been doing?

 

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