Sunday 26 May 2019

Present Perfect Continuous Tense


The word ‘tense’ is derived from Latin word ‘tempus’ and it means time. Basically tense conveys the time of action.

Tenses are mainly divided into three parts – Present, Past and Future. They are further subdivided into four categories – Indefinite, Continuous, Perfect and Perfect Continuous.


PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS TENSE (also called Present Progressive Tense) is generally used for an action which began at some time in past and is still continuing at the time of being reported. It usually emphasizes duration, or the amount of time that an action has been taking place.

This tense is used to denote an unspecified time between 'before now' and 'now'. The speaker is thinking about something that started but perhaps did not finish in that period of time and may still be going on, or may have just finished.

Basic Structure of Sentence

Basic structure of a sentence in this tense is –

Subject + Has/Have + been (third form of be ) + continuous form of verb (V1+ing) + object

Subject          has/have       been               verb’s base+ing             object

I                       have               been               reading                      this book.
She                  has                  been               swimming. (affirmative)
He                   has                  been               running. (affirmative)
He                   hasn't             been               running. (negative)
Has                 she                  been               running? (interrogative)

Present Perfect Tense is used to describe/show/denote  

1. Something that started in past and continues up to the present moment –

For example :

I've been working on this report since eight o'clock this morning ( I still haven't finished it).
They have been travelling since last October. (They're not home yet).
Sameer has been sleeping since 4 o’clock. (still sleeping)
He has been playing for three hours. (still playing)

2. An action just finished but the long continuation of action is emphasised –

For example :

It's been raining. (and there was no break)
She has been waiting for you all day. (emphasis is over the length of time)
I have been watering my plants. (as an explanation to some query)

Prepositions (for/since) used with certain time expressions:

Since – used to denote point of time when some work/action began.

For – used to denote for total duration of some work/action

e.g.  I have been living in Bombay since 2008. (point of time when I started living)
I have been living in Bombay for 11 years. (duration of stay in Bombay)

More adverbs/adverb phrases used as time expressions with since/for:

for                                          since
three hours                          morning
four days                              9.00  a.m.
3 months                              March
2 years                                  2018
centuries                               1100
ages                                        I was a child
ever                                        the very beginning

Verb form used in the Present Perfect Continuous Tense–

The present perfect continuous form of a verb is composed of three elements:

1. Appropriate form of auxiliary/helping verb (have) – have (plural) / has (singular)

2. Third form of be – been

3. Present participle form of main verb (Verb’s base form+ing) – playing, eating, working, reading, singing, writing, etc.

Note : Singular subject takes singular helping verb - Has
           Plural subject takes plural helping verb - Have

  Plural verbs
  Singular verbs
  Have been sleeping
  Has been sleeping
  Have been working
  Has been working
  Have been studying
  Has been studying
  Have been trying
  Have been trying
  Have been writing
Has been writing
  Have been playing
Has been playing
  Have been drawing
Has been drawing
  Have been teaching
Has been teaching
  Have been travelling
Has been travelling
  Have been talking
Has been talking

More examples :
They have been talking for an hour.
What have you been doing for the last 30 minutes?
Mr. Joshi has been teaching in this school since April 2012.
We have been waiting here for over two hours.
Why have you not been answering my call for the last three days?
Recently, I have been feeling really tired.
Have you been exercising lately?
They’ve been staying in this house for twenty years.
My father hasn't been feeling well for weeks.
He has been living in Bombay since he got married.

Note : I and You, in spite of being singular, take plural form of helping verb (have). It is an exception to the rule.

Verbs not used in Continuous Tenses :

The verbs which convey sensory actions, perception, possession and state of mind are not used in Continuous Tenses hence, they shouldn’t be used in Present Perfect Continuous Tense.

For example – I have been feeling bad. (incorrect)
I feel bad / I have felt bad. (correct)
She has been knowing you. (incorrect)
She knows you. (correct)

More such verbs (not to be used in Present Perfect Continuous Tense)
 feel                           hear                           have(to possess)
 smell                         measure                    assume
 believe                      consider                    seem            
find                             suppose                    forget                      
 imagine                    know                                    mean            
recognise                  remember                understand
 fear                           hate                            hope 
 love                           mind                          prefer
wish                          cost                            hold               

Exercise for practice
1.     She _______________  in this company for three years. (work)
2.     What __________  you ___________? (do)
3.     He ________________ football for a long time. (play)
4.     Mr. Sinha _________ care of his children very well. (take)
5.      You _________  TV since 7p.m. (watch)
6.     My parents ____________ learning English for six months. (learn)
7.     Shikha _____________  us since March. (not visit)
8.     The students _________  Math these days. (not practise)
9.     I __________ tuitions for ten years. (give)
10.                         My children ________ very well in Physics. (not perform)   

Answers :

1.     Has been working               2. Have – been doing                    3. Has been playing
4. Has been taking                    5. Have been watching                 6. Have been learning
7. has not been visiting            8. Have not been practising        9. Have been giving
10. Have not been performing 

Video on Present tense