Present Perfect Continuous Tense (Tense 5)
Following our previous chapter which was on Present Perfect Tense, we will go a little further with the Perfect Tense form. Our focus, in this chapter, is on Present Perfect Continuous Tense today. Let’s start..
Present Perfect Continuous Tense
As we already know, Perfect Tense completes an action of the Verb. That means, an action already started is complete now and there is nothing left for the action.
I have finished my homework
It means that I started my homework, the homework is finished now and I have nothing more to do on my homework.
In Present Perfect Continuous Tense, an action starts in some time of the past and is still going on. In short, an action started in the past (in most cases, the time is specific) and the action is continuing. E.g. I have been watching the movie for 2 hours.
- He has been reading for 5 hours
- We’ve been living in this city since 1981
- Mr. John has been studying in this college for 4 years.
- She’s been eating for 30 minutes.
- They have been playing since morning.
Present Perfect Tense vs. Present Perfect Continuous Tense
→ In Present Perfect Tense, an action starts in the past (usually recent past) and it’s complete now.
→ He has played the game. (means – he started playing and it’s over now)
→ In Present Perfect Continuous Tense, an action starts in the past and is not complete yet. The action continues to go on for a period.
→ He has been playing the game since morning. (means -he started playing in the morning and is still going on)
Note: When you use Present Perfect Continuous Tense, keep in mind that the action starts in the past with probably a specific time (at least the time must be understood in the statement/sentence) and the action should go on in the present. More examples -
- She has slept for ten hours. [Sleep was for 10 hours and the sleep it complete. He is not in sleep now]
- He has been sleeping for ten hours. [Sleep started 10 hours ago and it's still going on. He is still in sleep now]
- It has rained for 2 hours. [Rain started 2 hours ago and it's stopped now]
- It has been raining for 2 hours. [Rain started 2 hours ago and it's still raining- nonstop]
- She has sung the song for 10 minutes. [Her song was for 10 minutes and it's done now. She's not singing now]
- She has been singing the song for 10 minutes. [Her song began 10 minutes ago and she is still continuing with her singing]
Exception with Perfect Present Continuous Tense
As we understood, the sentence pattern of this tense is [SUBJECT + HAVE/HAS+ BEEN+ VERB(ING) + ... ]. However, certain words (such as know, finish etc) do not come in (ING) format. e.g.
knowing, finishing. (Learn more hear). So, in such cases, we just tweak the syntax a bit. It turns into a Present Perfect Tense then. See below.
Syntax: Subject + HAVE/HAS + Past participle of Verb +….
- I have known Mr. Stuart since childhood.
- I have not seen him since morning.
- He has wanted to become a movie actor since his college days.
- I have not found a job for five years.
Note2: All the sentences above are in Present Perfect Tense. However, they are used with a time period (with the use of SINCE/FOR). But, we cannot use Present Perfect Continuous Tense here. The verbs in those sentence usually are not used in -ing format.
So, we’re done with this chapter on Present Perfect Continuous Tense.. To sum up – when an action starts in the past and is still going on for a period, we use this tense. There is a subtle difference between Present Perfect Tense, Present Continuous Tense (where an action starts and keeps going on) and Present Perfect Continuous Tense. Use the tense wisely and you will never have grammatical error. Catch you next time with another chapter on Tense. That will be on Simple Past Tense. Until then, happy learning.
Do let me know if you have any questions on this chapter. I will help you understand it better, in case I am unable to make things easier in this chapter.