Easy Learning

The present perfect continuous tense - Easy Learning Grammar

Typical forms of this tense are as shown in:
  • I have been waiting.
  • I’ve been waiting.
  • She has been waiting.
  • She’s been waiting.
  • Have I been snoring?
  • Has he been waiting?
  • Have you been waiting long?
  • I have not been waiting.
  • She has not been waiting.
We use the present perfect continuous tense to talk about:
  • actions and states that began in the past and are still continuing at the time of speaking.
  • I have been holding this ladder for ages. When are you going to come down?
  • actions and states that began in the past and have only just finished.
  • Thank goodness you’re here! I’ve been waiting for hours.
  • repeated actions.
  • I’ve been getting this magazine every week for a year.
There is sometimes little difference between the meaning of the present perfect and the meaning of the present perfect continuous when they are used for long-term actions.
  • I have been working here for three years.
  • I have worked here for three years.
We usually choose the continuous form for more temporary actions or states.
  • I have been living in London since I left school.
… and the present perfect form for more permanent ones.
  • I have lived in London since I was born.
  • We cannot use this tense with verbs such as be, know, and like, which are not used in continuous forms.

  • We can use for and since with the continuous form in the same way as with the present perfect form. See also The present continuous tense and The past continuous tense for more about continuous uses of the verb.
  • I have been studying English for three years.
  • I have studied English for three years.
  • I have been living in London since I left school.
  • I have lived in London since I was born.

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