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Present perfect continuous – passive

There are several reasons as to why we use the passive voice in English. In these notes, we’re going to focus on the present perfect continuous in the passive voice and its elaborations. Generally, we use the passive when the focus is on the action and NOT on WHO or WHAT is performing the action.

Construction: has/have + been + being + past participle (enjoyed, worked)

Example verb: 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  
(1) The subject is unknown. We don’t know who is the subject. 
  • There is a man living down there on the first floor that has been being annoyed by our loud music.
(2) We use the passive to emphasise the subject. 
  • It was he, the villain, who has been being sought after for his crimes against society.
(3) We use the passive to talk about general truths. 
  • Dogs have been being looked after by humans for thousands of years.
(4) 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.
(5) 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.
(6) 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.

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