Present perfect continuous passive voice
There are several reasons why we use the passive voice in English. In these notes, we are going to focus on the present perfect continuous in the passive voice. Generally, we use the passive voice when the focus is on the action and NOT on WHO or WHAT is performing the action. Importantly, this verbal tense is very uncommon in the passive, that is, we would rarely use it, if at all. However, in the active voice, the present perfect continuous is common.
Present perfect continuous passive voice construction: has/have + been + being + past participle.
Example verb: to watch
|I have been being watched||We have been being watched|
|You have been being watched||You (guys) have been being watched|
|He/she/it has been being watched||They have been being watched|
The agent is unknown. We don’t know who or what is the agent
- There is a man living down there on the first floor that has been being annoyed by our loud music.
We use the passive to emphasise the subject
- It was he, the villain, who has been being sought after for his crimes against society.
We use the passive to talk about general truths
- Dogs have been being looked after by humans for thousands of years.
We can use the passive if we want to be unclear or vague about the subject
- We aren’t sure what it was but usually, these things have been being dealt with seriously by the justice department.
We use the passive when the subject is irrelevant
(We don’t care who or what has caused the action to be).
- These types of anomalies have been being studied for centuries on end without any progress having been being made.
We use the passive in a more formal atmosphere like a thesis or an important piece of writing, especially scientifically speaking
- My scientific analysis clearly demonstrates that the stars in our solar system have been being lighted for millions of years.
Present perfect continuous passive with context and analysis
Construction: have/has + been + being + past participle (given, told).
Example verb: to handle
|I have been being handled||We have been being handled|
|You have been being handled||You (guys) have been being handled|
|He/she/it has been being handled||They have been being handled|
- So, what has been being done about all these issues on the fire?1
- Not a lot has been being achieved as far as I’m concerned.2 The fire has already extended inland and is now threatening the local people.3 I feel sorry for the New Zealanders who have lost their houses.4
- From what I read in the paper this morning, the countryside out in Christchurch has been being burnt to a stick5 by this ongoing fire.
- I dare say, I do hope the firefighters can stop it soon.
- Me too.
- What has been being done about all these issues on the fire? The present perfect continuous when used in the passive, is uncommon, and most people would not use it. Here, we have an example of it being used even though it’s very rarely used. ‘Had been being done’.
- Not a lot has been being achieved as far as I’m concerned. The present perfect continuous in the passive voice ‘has been being achieved’ is used here to show that the subject is not important.
- Is now threatening the local people. Here, the present continuous ‘is now threatening’ is used to show a state. We can use the present continuous or the present simple to talk about permanent or temporary states.
- I feel sorry for the New Zealanders who have lost their houses. ‘To feel sorry for’ is used in the present simple because it’s an emotional state.
- The countryside out in Christchurch has been being burnt to a stick. The expression ‘burn to a stick’ means ‘something burning excessively to the maximum point’.
All passive forms:
- Articles (a/an, the, zero article)
- Pronouns: subject, object and possessive
- Question tags
- English conditionals
- Interrogatives in English
- Phrasal verbs
- Prefixes and suffixes
- Reported and direct speech
- Numbers: cardinal, ordinal, and Roman numbers
- The verb: “get”
- ‘Get’ vs. ‘go’ and ‘got’ vs. ‘gotten’
- Copular verbs
- Cleft sentences
- Subjunctive in English
- Vulgar and taboo in English
- Split infinitive
- Emphasis with inversion
- Gerunds in English
- To + infinitive
- Bare infinitive
- British and American spelling