Correct Use Of The Present Perfect Continuous Tense

The present perfect continuous tense shows that an action started in the past, has continued up to the present and is still continuing.

  • Alice has been knitting a sweater since morning.
  • Scientists have been planning a manned mission to Mars.
  • The anxious father has been waiting for a letter from his son.
  • We have been waiting for hours.

Grammar Notes

The question form in this tense will be as follows:

  • Have you been waiting for hours? (Have/has + subject + been + present participle + adverbials/complements)
  • Has Alice been knitting a sweater?

Since the action started in the past and has been continuing ever since, the only point of time that can be mentioned is such a sentence is the time when the action started.

  • He has been working here since 1995.
  • She has been waiting for a bus since 8 o’clock.

You can also mention the period of time during which the action has been going on.

  • He has been working here for seven years.
  • She has been waiting for a bus for one hour.

Common errors

  • We have been working all yesterday. (Wrong)
  • We worked all yesterday. (Right)
  • It has been raining during the whole of last week. (Wrong)
  • It rained during the whole of last week. (Right)

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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