Present Perfect Continuous Tense

Forming a sentence using present perfect continuous tense

Subject + have/has + been + verb(…ing) + object

Usage

Present perfect tense is usually used to describe actions which began in the past, has continued into present and may continue into the future.

  • We have been learning English for four years
  • She has been living in that house since 1996

Differences between present perfect simple and present perfect continuous tense

Present perfect simple may describe something which has only recently finished, but this is not necessarily the case.

  • I have read ‘Crime and Punishment’. (I read it when I was at school)

We use the present perfect continuous tense to describe an activity recently stopped.

  • I have been reading ‘Crime and Punishment’.

Present perfect simple may describe something which is repeated or extended, but this is not necessarily the case.

  • Your wife has rung. (She may have rung just once, and only briefly.)

When we use the present perfect continuous, we understand that the event is repeated or extended.

  • Your wife has been ringing.

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