Present Perfect Continuous Tense Rules And Usage With Examples

The present perfect continuous tense is an advanced tense that we use to talk about an action that started in the past and continues in the present.

There is a lot to know and learn about the present perfect continuous tense. But don’t worry! We are going to explore and understand everything about this tense here.

Learning this tense will help you improve your English grammar and communication.

What is the Present Perfect Continuous Tense?

The present perfect continuous tense is one of the important and interesting tenses in English grammar.

You may have learned the present perfect tense already. As we know, the present perfect tense connects the past and the present. This tense allows us to talk about the things that started in the past and continued till the present time.

Similarly, the present perfect continuous tense also connects the past and the present. However, this tense represents the actions or events that are continuing in the present time and are not finished. The focus of this tense is more on the process of the action, not on the result.

That means we use the present perfect continuous tense to talk about actions or events that started in the past and continue in the present. The action continues in the present and may also continue in the future.

So, it’s an unfinished action that started in the past and still going on in the present time.

For example; John has been trying to solve this problem since yesterday.

By using this present perfect continuous tense sentence, we are trying to say that John started to work on the problem at some point yesterday. He is still working on the same problem today because he has not found a solution yet.

It is an action that started in the past and still going on in the present. An unfinished action!

Examples of Present Perfect Continuous Tense

  • I have been waiting for Mona since morning.
  • He has been working hard for the past couple of weeks.
  • Jenifer has been coming to work late recently.
  • Kids have been playing since morning.
  • She has been acting strange lately.
  • They have been visiting us since 2012.
  • We have been watching TV for two hours.
  • It has been working fine since yesterday.
  • I have been waiting for this moment since childhood.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense Rule

In the above sentences, we have used the helping verbs (Auxiliary): have/has been and the main verb in –ing form.

In the present perfect continuous tense, we use the verb in –ing form. You need to add –ing at the end of the verb. However, you may need to make some spelling changes in some verbs. Thus, it is important to learn the verb forms.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense Rule

SubjectAuxiliaryVerb Form
IHave beenV+ing
He/She/ItHas beenV+ing
We/You/TheyHave beenV+ing
Present Perfect Continuous Rule

Present Perfect Continuous Tense Structure  

Present perfect continuous tense structure and examples
Present Perfect Continuous Tense Structure With Examples!

 Now let’s look at the present perfect continuous tense structure that we use to make sentences.  

1. Present Perfect Continuous Affirmative Sentence Structure

Subject + have/has + been + Verb (-ing) + Object

Examples of Present Perfect Continuous Affirmative Sentences

  • I have been sitting here for three and a half hours.
  • You have been studying since morning.
  • We have been living in this house since 1978.
  • They have been waiting for the bus.
  • Your mother has been drinking a lot these days.
  • She has been working in her garden.
  • It has been raining all day.
  • The students have been learning English grammar since March.
  • Alex cannot go outside as it has been raining all day.
  • Monica has been watering the plants.

2. Present Perfect Continuous Negative Sentence Structure

Subject + have/has + not + been + Verb (-ing) + Object

Negative Present Perfect Continuous Sentence Examples

  • I have not been sitting here for three and a half hours.
  • You have not been studying since morning.
  • We have not been living in this house since 1978.
  • They have not been waiting for the bus.
  • Your mother has not been drinking a lot these days.
  • She has not been working in her garden.
  • It has not been raining all day.
  • The students have not been learning English grammar since March.
  • Alex cannot go outside as it has not been raining all day.
  • Monica has not been watering the plants.

3. Present Perfect Continuous Question Sentence Structure

Have/has + Subject + been + Verb (-ing) + Object?

Examples Of Present Perfect Continuous Tense Question Sentences

  • Have I been sitting here for three and a half hours?
  • Have you been studying since morning?
  • Have we been living in this house since 1978?
  • Have they been waiting for the bus?
  • Has your mother been drinking a lot these days?
  • Has she been working in her garden?
  • Has it been raining all day?
  • Have the students been learning English grammar since March?
  • Has Monica been watering the plants?

4. Present Perfect Continuous Interrogative Negative Sentence Structure

Have/has + Subject + not + been + Verb (-ing) + Object?

Examples of Present Perfect Continuous Tense Interrogative Negative Sentences

  • Have not been sitting here for three and a half hours?
  • Have you not been studying since morning?
  • Have we not been living in this house since 1978?
  • Have they not been waiting for the bus?
  • Has your not mother been drinking a lot these days?
  • Has she not been working in her garden?
  • Has it not been raining all day?
  • Have the students not been learning English grammar since March?
  • Has Monica not been watering the plants?

Present Perfect Continuous Tense Usages 

Let’s try to understand when to use the present perfect continuous tense.

When is the present perfect continuous tense used?

We can use the present perfect continuous tense in different situations. The given below are the situation where you can use present perfect continuous tense.

1. Something that started in the past and continues

We can use the present perfect continuous tense for something that started in the past and continues in the present.

For example; They have been working on this project for nine years.

(They started to work on a project nine years ago and are still working. The project is under process and not finished yet)

Some more such Examples are:-

  • Gas prices have been increasing for the past couple of months.
  • I have been performing on stage since my childhood.
  • My brother has been working in this company for a decade now.
  • They have been protesting since last year.

2. Something that started in the past and finished recently

We can also use present perfect continuous tense for something that started in the past and finished recently.

For example; Where were you? We have been looking for you all day.

(In this perfect continuous sentence, we have been looking for someone until he showed up. So, an action was started in the past and continued till the present and finished.)

Some more such Examples are:-

  • Olivia has been trying to reach you since morning.
  • Emma, I know you have been waiting for me.

Contraction With Present Perfect Continuous

It is quite common when we speak or write that we use contractions with the present perfect continuous, especially when we are in a casual or informal situation.

Let’s see how we use contraction with the Present Perfect Continuous.

With Affirmative Sentence

I’ve been sitting here for three and a half hours. (I have – I’ve)

She’s been working in her garden. (She has – she’s)

I have been – I’ve been

You have been – you’ve been

He has been – he’s been

She has been – she’s been

We have been – we’ve been

They have been – they’ve been

It has been – it’s been

With Negative Sentence

Have not been – Haven’t been

Has not – Hasn’t been

haven’t been sitting here for five hours.

She hasn’t been working in her garden.

With Interrogative Negative Sentence

We can use the below sentence structure for interrogative negative sentences in present perfect continuous.

Haven’t / Hasn’t + Subject + been + Verb (-ing) + Object?

Haven’t you been studying since morning?

Haven’t we been living in this house since 1978?

Hasn’t she been working in her garden?

Hasn’t it been raining all day?

Leave a Comment