Present Perfect Progressive

Breaking Down the Present Perfect Progressive Tense

The Present perfect progressive tense (or as it's also known, Present perfect continuous tense), shows action that has been continuously happening up to the present moment.

We use this verb tense to show that something started in the past and has continued up until now; or that an action has been happening over time until now. Basically the present perfect progressive has the meaning of lately or recently.

The Present perfect progressive tense is usually combined with a length of time phraseOpens in new window (such as, ‘for few seconds/five minutes’, ‘for all day/morning/weeks’, and ‘since Monday/last month,’ etc.) to indicate action that started in the past and continues to the present.

See Practical Examples
  • I’ve been cleaning my house all day.
  • Gretchen has been reading since noon.
  • We’ve been waiting for Andy for over an hour.

Perhaps you have studied and understood the meaning of Present perfect tenseOpens in new window, you might be wondering, “How come! Present perfect progressive seems to have the same meaning as present perfect tense” You’re right, present perfect with a length of time almost always means the same as present perfect progressive. That raises some questions: “Are present perfect and present perfect progressive always the same? And if they’re not, when should I use present perfect, and when should I use present perfect progressive? You’ll find the answers to these questions down below.

How to Use the Present Perfect Continuous Tense

1.  Expression of Affirmative Statements with Present Perfect Continuous — To make affirmative statement with present perfect continuous tense, the Structure: Subject + has/have + been + verb–ing (form) is used.

See Practical Examples
  • Andy has been thinking about getting a new car.
  • Laurel and Benson have been remodeling their garage.
  • We’ve been studying verb tenses for so long that now we’re beginning to have gray hair.

2.  Expression of Negative Statements with Present Perfect Continuous Tense — To make negative statement with present perfect continuous tense, the Structure: Subject + has/have + not been + verb–ing (form) is used. The Contraction form: Subject + hasn’t/haven’t + not been + verb–ing(form) is also used.

See Practical Examples
  • Andy has not been spending time with his family since he started a part time course.
  • Lola hasn’t been using her favorite car recently.
  • Mum and Dad have not been going to church together.

3.  Expression of Interrogative Statements with Present Perfect Continuous Tense — To make interrogative statement using present perfect continuous tense, the Structure: (interrogative word) + have/has + subject + been + verb–ing (form) is used.

See Practical Examples
  • Has Andy been attending English classes?
  • Where has Lola been taking dancing practices?
  • Why have they been avoiding one another?

4.  Expression of Negative Interrogative statements with Present Perfect Continuous Tense. — To make negative interrogative statement using present perfect continuous tense, the Structure: (interrogative word) + have/has not + subject + been + verb–ing (form) is used. However, the Contracted Form: (interrogative word) + haven’t/hasn’t + subject + been + verb–ing (form) is sometimes preferred.

See Practical Examples
  • Hasn’t Andy been attending English classes?
  • Haven’t they been avoiding one another?
  • Has not Lola been taking dancing practices?

Note that the Interrogatives are rarely used in formal contexts. Chances are you will seldom have needs to use them.

    The Four Aspects of Present Tense
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