Present perfect continuous

Present perfect continuous


have/has been + verb + ing


I have been washing up all morning.

You’ve been driving me mad all day.

He’s been running for 2 hours now.

She’s been learning to drive a lorry for the past year.

We’ve been going out for 3 years now.

They’ve been working in the garden all summer.


1) We use ‚present perfect continuous to talk about actions which started in the past and still going on (I’ve been reading a book on horticulture)

or having an effect on present (It’s been raining. The ground is still wet).

We usually use present perfect continuous for short-time actions:

The man has been standing on the corner all afternoon. (we assume he’ll eventually go home)

For speaking about long-term or permanent actions it’s better to use present perfect simple:

I’ve moved house recently.

I’ve lived in London for 6 years now.

2) We also prefer to use PP continuous to talk about continuous change or development:

The Universe has been expanding for almost 14 billion years.

The human population has been steadily ageing.

3) We use PP continuous to emphasise the action itself:

I’ve been working really hard recently.

He’s been making a lot of noise since 6am.

When we want to focus on the result of the action, we use PP simple:

I’ve finished the book so now I know who killed the master.

She has completed that report in time. It’s done!

Some verbs are not usually used in progressive form, e.g.:

  • verbs of senses: feel, hear, see, smell, sound, taste
  • verbs of feelings: love, hate, like, want, fear, respect, admire, adore, dislike, wish, prefer, impress, concern
  • verbs of mental activity:agree, believe, expect, know, mean, remember, trust, understand, recognise, realise, suppose, imagine, doubt
  • verbs of possession: belong, own, owe, possess
  • other verbs: astonish, appear, deny, seem, surprise, consist, include, fit, involve