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You are here: Level B1 > Present Perfect continuous

                                                                                      

Present perfect continuous

 

Form:

have/has been + verb + ing

I have been washing up all morning.

You've been driving me mad all day.

He's been running.

She's been learning to drive a lorry for the last year.

We've been going out for 3 years now.

They've been working in the garden all summer.


Use:

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 emphasize 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

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