Present Perfect Continuous

*Structure:

Positive Subject + have/has + been + verb-ing
Negative Subject + have not/has not + been + verb-ing
Question Have/ Has + subject + been + verb-ing

 Ex:

Jane has been watching TV all night.

He has not been washing for 2 months.

Have you been cooking all morning?

*Use:

We use present perfect continuous tense to talk about:

events with a connection to the present when the focus is on the continuity of the action.  I have been learning Italian for 10 years and I still can’t speak it properly.

She has been painting all day.

 an activity that is unfinished. I have been reading the book you lent me. I have got another 50 pages to read.

 

how long something has been happening. She has been writing emails for 3 hours.
something that is temporary. I usually work in London but I have been working in Birmingham for the last 3 weeks.

*We don’t use present perfect continuous with the state verbs. We use present perfect simple with these verbs.

*Exercise:

  1. Read the situations and complete the sentences.

a. The rain started two hours ago. It’s still raining now. It has been raining for two hours.

b. We started waiting for the bus 20 minutes ago. We’re still waiting now.

We — for 20 minutes.

c. I started Spanish classes in December. I’m still learning Spanish now.

I — since December.

d. Ann began looking for a job six months ago. She’s still looking now.

— for six months.

e. Mary started working in London on 18 January. She’s still working there now.

— since 18 January.

f. Years ago you started writing to a pen-friend. You still write to each other regularly now.

We — for years.

KEY

b. have been waiting/’ve been waiting

c. have been learning Spanish ‘ve been learning Spanish

d. She has been looking for a job/She’s been looking./Ann has been looking.

e. She has been working in London She’s been working./Mary has been working.

f. have been writing to each other ‘ve been writing.

  1. Put the verb into the present continuous (I am ~ing etc.) or present perfect continuous (I have been ~ing etc.).

a. Maria has been learning (learn) English for two years.

b. Hello, Tom. I — (look) for you all morning. Where have you been?

c. Why — (you/took) at me like that? Stop it!

d. We always go to Ireland for our holidays. We — (go) there for years.

e. I — (think) about what you said and I’ve decided to take your advice.

f. ‘Is Ann on holiday this week?’ ‘No, she —e (work).’

g. Sarah is very tired. She — (work) very hard recently.

KEY

b. have been looking/’ve been looking

c. are you looking

d. have been going/’ve been going

e. have been thinking/’ve been thinking

f. is working/’s working

g. has been working/’s been working

  1. Put the verb into the more suitable form, present perfect (I have done etc.) or continuous (I have been doing etc.).

a. Where have you been? Have you been playing (you/play) tennis?

b. Look! Somebody … (break) that window.

c. You look tired. … (you/work) hard?

d. ‘… (you/ever/work) in a factory?’ ‘No, never.’

e. ‘Jane is away on holiday.’ ‘Oh, is she? Where … (she/go)?

f. My brother is an actor. He … (appear) In several films.

g. ‘Sorry I’m late.’ ‘That’s all right. I … (not/wait) long.’

h. ‘Is it still raining?’ ‘No, it … (stop).’

i. I … (lose) my address book. … (you/see) it anywhere?

j. I … (read) the book you lent me but I … (not/finish) it yet.

k. I … (read) the book you lent me, so you can have it back now.

KEY

  b. has broken

c. Have you been working

d. Have you ever worked

e. has she gone

f. has appeared/’s appeared

g. haven’t been waiting

h. has stopped/ stopped

i. have lost/’ve lost … Have you seen

j. have been reading/’ve been reading … haven’t finished

k. have read/ ‘ve read

  1. Are the underlined verbs right or wrong? Correct them if they are wrong.

a. Bob is a friend of mine. I know him very well. RIGHT

b. Bob is a friend of mine. I know him for a long time. WRONG: I’ve known him.

c. Sue and Alan are married since July. …

d. The weather is awful. It’s raining again. …

e. The weather is awful. It’s raining all day. …

f. I like your house. How long are you living there? …

g. Graham is working in a shop for the last few months. …

h. I’m going to Paris tomorrow. I’m staying there until next Friday. …

i. ‘Do you still smoke?’ ‘No, I gave it up. I don’t smoke for years.’ …

j. That’s a very old bicycle. How long do you have it? …

KEY

 c. wrong–have been married

d. right

e. wrong–has been raining

f. wrong–have you been living

g. wrong–has been working

h. right

i. wrong–haven’t smoked

j. wrong–have you had it

The information we used is collected from different sources on the Internet and in English coursebooks.

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