Present perfect continuous
Construction: have/has + been + verb + – ing (gerund)
(1) We use the present perfect continuous or the present perfect progressive to talk about actions that started in the past and are still continuing on until the very present moment or have just stopped and have present results.
- How long have you been living in Germany for?
- They have been studying here in the school for eight years.
- I’ve been running all afternoon, that’s why I’m feeling so hot.
Note! We cannot use the present perfect continuous with expressions that refer to a period of time that has been stopped already.
Eg. I have been studying until 17h X 2. I have been studying all morning. ✓
(2) We use the present perfect continuous and the present perfect to talk about actions and situations in the past that have present results but we use the present perfect continuous to focus on the action/situation itself, that is, seeing the action or situation as still extending and continuing whereas the present perfect focuses just on the completion of the action.
- Present perfect continuous: I have been feeling well. (The focus is on the continuous activity)
- Present perfect: I have been well. (The focus is just on the completed result)
- Present perfect continuous: She has been learning how to climb. (The focus is on the continuous activity)
- Present perfect: She has learnt/learned how to climb. (The result is on the completed action)
(3) We use the present perfect continuous to give the feeling of something being ‘recent’ or ‘lately’.
- Sally has been acting strangely lately.
- I am not sure they have been feeling so good.
- We’ve been exercising every day. this week.
- Jim hasn’t been practising his rugby skills that much recently.