THE PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS TENSE

Along with the main verb, two auxiliary verbs are used together to form the Present Perfect Continuous Tense. In this concept, we will be looking at the structure and its use of the Present Perfect Continuous Tense along with the use of words like ‘for’ and ‘since’ which will be followed by a simple exercise to check your understanding. Remember that Continuous tenses are also known as Progressive tense. The Present Perfect Continuous Tense is at times also known as the Present Perfect Progressive Tense.

English grammar is not just comprised of nouns and verbs, but Grammar is much more than that. One of its parts is the tenses and the Present Perfect Continuous Tense is what we will be learning today. Let us understand this concept with some brilliant examples too!

Let’s look at the making of the Present Perfect Continuous Tense:

subject+Auxiliary have+Auxiliary be+Main verb
Conjugated in present simplePast participle
have, hasbeenPresent participle
  • ‘Have’ is the first auxiliary conjugated in the Present Simple: have, has
  • In the past participle form, the second auxiliary ‘be’ is invariable: been
  • In the present participle form, the main verb is invariable: -ing
  • In the case of negative sentences, ‘not’ is inserted after the first auxiliary verb
  • In case of question sentences, the subject and the first auxiliary verb are exchanged.

Let us have a look at the examples with the Present perfect Continuous Tense:

subjectAuxiliary verbAuxiliary verbMain verb
+      IHave beenreadingAll night long.
+    YouHavebeenplayingToo much.
      ItHasnotbeengood.
      WeHavenotbeenawareAbout it.
?    HaveYoubeenwatchingher?
?    HaveTheybeenfinishingTheir work?

While speaking, when we use the Present Perfect Continuous tense, very often we contract the subject along with the first auxiliary verb. At times, we also do it in informal writing.

You have beenYou’ve been
He has beenHe’s been
She has beenShe’s been
I have beenI’ve been
They have beenThey’ve been

Let us look at some more examples:

  • She’s been reading.
  • Matt’s been playing all day.

In the case of positive sentences, we can contract the first auxiliary verb along with ‘not’,

  • It hasn’t been raining.
  • I haven’t been reading for days.

The Tense is called the Present Perfect Continuous Tense because there is a connection with the present or now. This tense is used to talk about the past action which has stopped recently and the past action which is still continuing.

For example:

  •  I’m tired because I’ve been playing.

In this example, the action (playing) is recent and for which the result (tired) is seen now.

  • You don’t understand because you haven’t been studying. 

The Present Perfect Continuous Tense is used to talk about an action that started in the past but is still continuing.

Let us take a look at ‘for’ and ‘since’ with the Present Perfect Continuous tense.

For example,

  • I have been listening for a period of one hour.
  • He has been ill since Friday.
  • She has been cranky since the beginning of time.

Remember that ‘for’ can be used with all tenses and ‘since’ is usually used only with Perfect tenses.

EXERCISES FOR PRACTICE

  1. I am watching a movie all night long. (Make it Present Perfect Continuous tense)
  2. You have been playing since afternoon. (Contract the subject along with the first auxiliary verb)
  3. It has not been snowing. (Contract the auxiliary verb along with ‘not’)
  4. We are not aware of it. (Make it present perfect continuous tense)
  5. It is not good. (Contract the auxiliary verb along with ‘not’)

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