Present perfect continuous

This tense is used to talk about an action or actions that started in the past and continued until recently or that continue into the future:

We can use it to refer to an action that has finished but you can still see evidence.

•Oh, the kitchen is a mess. Who has been cooking?
•You look tired. Have you been sleeping properly?

It can refer to an action that has not finished.

•I've been learning Spanish for 20 years and I still don't know very much.
•I've been waiting for him for 30 minutes and he still hasn't arrived.

It can refer to a series of actions.

•She's been writing to her regularly for a couple of years.
•He's been phoning me all week for an answer.

The present perfect continuous is often used with 'since', 'for', 'all week', 'for days', 'lately', 'recently', 'over the last few months'.

•I've been wanting to do that for ten years.
•You haven't been getting good results over the last few months.
•He hasn't been talking to me for weeks.
•We've been working hard on it for ages.
•I've been looking at other options recently.
•He's been working here since 2001.


Present Perfect

The present perfect tense is a rather important tense in English, but it gives speakers of some languages a difficult time. That is because it uses concepts or ideas that do not exist in those languages. In fact, the structure of the present perfect tense is very simple. The problems come with the use of the tense.

The present perfect tense is really a very interesting tense, and a very useful one. Try not to translate the present perfect tense into your language. Just try to accept the concepts of this tense and learn to "think" present perfect! You will soon learn to like the present perfect tense!

The structure of the present perfect tense is:

Exercise 1

Exercise 2

Tricky words


False friends



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