Present Perfect Continuous Tense - Explore Meaning, Definition, Formula, Structure Uses and Examples

Have you been looking for information regarding the present perfect continuous tense? In this article, you will find all that you need to know about the present perfect continuous tense. The meaning, definition, formula and uses of the present perfect continuous tense are discussed along with examples so that you understand perfectly well how to use the present perfect continuous tense of the verb.

Table of Contents

What is the Present Perfect Continuous Tense?

The present perfect continuous tense is employed in a sentence to indicate an action that started in the recent past and is still continuing in the present. It is also referred to as the present perfect progressive tense as the action progresses from the past to the present.

Now, take a look at how different dictionaries define the present perfect continuous tenses.

Definition of the Present Perfect Continuous Tense

The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines the ‘present perfect continuous tense’ as follows:

Formula and Structure of the Present Perfect Continuous Tense

The present perfect continuous tense can be formed by following the formula given below.

Subject + have/has + been + present participle (verb+ing) + the rest of the sentence

Like every other tense, the sentence structure of the present perfect continuous tense can be analysed in its positive, negative, interrogative and negative interrogative kinds of sentences.

Structure of the Present Perfect Continuous Tense

Positive

Negative

Interrogative

Negative Interrogative

Subject + have/has + been + present participle + the rest of the sentence

Subject + have/has + not + been + present participle + the rest of the sentence

Have/has + subject + been + present participle + the rest of the sentence

Have/has + subject + not + been + present participle + the rest of the sentence

(or)

Haven’t / hasn’t + subject + been + present participle + the rest of the sentence

Examples:

  • I have been working on this project for a week.
  • You have been working on this project for a week.
  • He has been working on this project for a week.
  • She has been working on this project for a week.
  • They have been working on this project for a week.

Examples:

  • I have not been working on this project for a week.
  • You have not been working on this project for a week.
  • He has not been working on this project for a week.
  • She has not been working on this project for a week.
  • They have not been working on this project for a week.

Examples:

  • Have I been working on this project for a week?
  • Have you been working on this project for a week?
  • Has he been working on this project for a week?
  • Has she been working on this project for a week?
  • Have they been working on this project for a week?

Examples:

  • Haven’t I been working on this project for a week?
  • Haven’t you been working on this project for a week?
  • Hasn’t he been working on this project for a week?
  • Hasn’t she been working on this project for a week?
  • Haven’t they been working on this project for a week?
  • Have you not been working on this project for a week?
  • Has she not been working on this project for a week?
  • Has he not been working on this project for a week?
  • Have they not been working on this project for a week?

Points to be Remembered When Using the Present Perfect Continuous Tense

Similar to the present perfect tense, the present perfect continuous tense also consists of helping verbs and main verbs. The only difference is that instead of one helping verb and one main verb in the past participle form, the present perfect continuous tense uses two helping verbs and a main verb in the present participle form. The helping verbs used are ‘have’ or ‘has’ along with ‘been’. These verbs are followed by the present participle of the main verb, which is formed by adding an ‘ing’ to the base verb.

The other fact that you should remember is that, like the present perfect tense, the helping verbs ‘have’ and ‘has’ are used in accordance with the pronoun or noun used in the sentence.

The Present Perfect Continuous Tense – Uses

The present perfect continuous tense can be used for the following reasons:

  • It can be used to represent the progress of an unfinished action that started in the past until now.
  • It can be used to depict a finished action that started in the past and just stopped recently.
  • It can also be used to denote a temporary or habitual action that started in the past and continues in the present.

Examples of the Present Perfect Continuous Tense

Take a look at the following table of examples to see how the present perfect continuous tense is used differently with different pronouns and nouns.

Examples of Present Perfect Continuous Tense

Pronouns / Nouns

Examples

I

I have been working as a doctor for two years.

You

You have been working as a doctor for two years.

We

We have been working as doctors for two years.

He

He has been working as a doctor for two years.

She

She has been working as a doctor for two years.

They

They have been working as doctors for two years.

It

It has been raining for a week now.

Singular noun

Firoz has been working as a doctor for two years.

Plural noun

Manoj and Dheeraj have been working as doctors for two years.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense Vs Present Perfect Tense

Most English language learners have a dilemma when it comes to choosing between the present perfect tense and the present perfect continuous tense. You can do away with this confusion if you understand the difference between the two and the situations in which they are used. Check out the table given below to learn more.

Present Perfect Tense

Present Perfect Continuous Tense

The present perfect tense is used to represent actions or events that have started and completed in the recent past and still have its effect in the present.

The present perfect continuous tense, on the other hand, is used to depict an action or event that started in the recent past and is still continuing at the time when the speaker is referring to it.

For example: Preethi has worked as an English teacher for two years.

For example: Preethi has been working as an English teacher for two years.

The above sentence means that Preethi has worked as a teacher for two years and works or does not work as a teacher anymore.

The above sentence means that Preethi has been working as a teacher for two years and is still working as a teacher now.

Test Your Understanding of the Present Perfect Continuous Tense

Fill in the blanks with the present perfect continuous form of the verb in the following sentences:

1. I ____________ (watch) this movie for two hours.

2. Sam ____________ (ask) for you.

3. Indrajith ___________ (dance) all day.

4. Joji and Shaji _____________ (plan) to go to Hyderabad next week.

5. _______ you ____________ (look) for this bag?

6. I ________________ (work out – negative) for two months now.

7. Cherina ______________ (work) on this essay for a week.

8. ____________ he ______________ (try) to get into Jawaharlal Nehru University? Is there any progress?

9. They _______________ (practise) for the farewell programme.

10. Manu ________________ (think) of sending in his resignation letter.

Find out if you have used the right form of the verb by checking the answers given below.

1. I have been watching this movie for two hours.

2. Sam has been asking for you.

3. Indrajith has been dancing all day.

4. Joji and Shaji have been planning to go to Hyderabad next week.

5. Have you been looking for this bag?

6. I have not been working out for two months now.

7. Cherina has been working on this essay for a week.

8. Hasn’t he been trying to get into Jawaharlal Nehru University? Is there any progress?

9. They have been practising for the farewell programme.

10. Manu has been thinking of sending in his resignation letter.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Present Perfect Continuous Tense

What is the present perfect continuous tense?

The present perfect continuous tense is employed in a sentence to indicate an action that started in the recent past and is still continuing in the present. It is also referred to as the present perfect progressive tense as the action progresses from the past to the present.

What are the rules to be followed when using the present perfect continuous tense?

The points to be kept in mind when using the present perfect continuous tense is as follows:

  • The present perfect continuous tense uses two helping verbs and a main verb in the present participle form. The helping verbs used are ‘have’ or ‘has’ along with ‘been’. These verbs are followed by the present participle of the main verb, which is formed by adding an ‘ing’ to the base verb.
  • The other point that you should remember is that, like the present perfect tense, the helping verbs ‘have’ and ‘has’ are used in accordance with the pronoun or noun used in the sentence.

What is the formula of the present perfect continuous tense?

The present perfect continuous tense can be formed by following the formula given below.
Subject + have/has + been + present participle (verb+ing) + the rest of the sentence

What are the uses of the present perfect continuous tense?

The present perfect continuous tense can be used for the following reasons:

  • It can be used to represent the progress of an unfinished action that started in the past until now.
  • It can be used to depict a finished action that started in the past and just stopped recently.
  • It can also be used to denote a temporary or habitual action that started in the past and continues in the present.

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