Present perfect continuous



The present perfect continuous connects the past with the present and is often used with questions like: how long? ….. since when?

To connect the past with the present. We describe something which started in the past and is still correct today.
e.g. I have been working in the sales department for two years.
You can also use the present perfect simple to describe this action:
e.g. I have worked in the sales department for two years.

To describe something which has happened recently or lately and is still correct. The emphasis here is that the action is recent or late.
e.g. He has been working very effectively lately.

To describe a repeated event in the recent past:
e.g. I have been trying to call you for ages.

Remember! (see present continuous for more information)
The continuous is normally only used with action verbs, e,g, We have been working on the report all morning.
It can sometimes be used with state verbs, e.g. We have been having dinner for ages.


have/has + been + verb-ing

Positive Sentences

have been working on this presentation for ages.
He has been waiting for 20 minutes.

Negative Sentences

have not been working here for a long time.
She has not been working on the project with Simon.


How long have you been living in Bielefeld?
How long has he been waiting?

Short Form

I’ve been working
you’ve, he’s, she’s, it’s, we’ve, they’ve

Compare with the Present Perfect

The Present Perfect is mainly used to emphasise the result (WHAT has happened?). The Present Perfect Continuous is rather used to emphasise the duration of an action (HOW LONG has something happened?).

have been working here for six months (present perfect continuous)
have worked here for six months. (present perfect)
Both of these sentences have the same meaning.

have been trying to reach John all morning (present perfect continous)
a repeated action in the recent past and still happening
have already called John (present perfect)
a finished action without mentioning the time

I have just arrived (present perfect)
I have just been arriving (present perfect continuous)

print print