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Present Perfect Continuous Grammar Guide mgr Anna Waligórska – Kotfas PWSZ Konin Verb Form We form the present perfect continuous with HAVE/HAS+BEEN+PRESENT PARTICIPLE (v-ing) Bob Geldof has been doing a lot of work for charities since the mid-eighties. What on earth have you been doing to that child? HAVE / HAS is an auxiliary! Verb Form Present Perfect HAVE / HAS + v-ed / 3f Continuous TO BE + v-ing HAVE / HAS + BEEN + v-ing Use: Ongoing states and actions We use the present perfect continuous to talk about a state or action which began in the past and is still continuing or has just finished: ‘You look hot.’ ‘Yes, I’ve been running.’ ‘Where have you been?’ ‘I’ve been talking to Jenny.’ How long have you been learning English? Use: Ongoing states and actions The simple form of the present perfect often focuses on the fact that an action is completed – result is important; while the continuous focuses on the fact that it is still happening: Simple: I’ve learnt how to play chess. (= I can play chess now.) Continuous: I’ve been learning how to play chess. (= I’m still learning.) Use: Focus on situation / action We use the continuous to focus on an action itself I must have a bath. I’ve been gardening all afternoon. (= focus on activity) I’ve planted a lot of new rose bushes. (= focus on result/effect) Use: Focus on situation / action Sorry about the mess. I’ve been painting the house. (= focus on activity) I’ve painted two rooms since lunchtime. (= focus on result) She’s been reading your book. (= focus on activity) She’s read 100 pages so far. (= focus on result) We have been learning irregular verbs all afternoon. (= focus on activity) We have learnt all of them. (= focus on result) Use: Focus on duration We use the continuous to focus on how long something has been in progress How long have you been waiting for me? How long have they been living next door to you? How long have you been playing tennis? It has been snowing all day. That man has been standing on the corner all day. Use: Since / For We often use the prepositions: SINCE (+ point in time) She has been writing letters since breakfast. Unemployment has been rising steadily since 2006. I’ve been living here since January. Use: Since / For We often use the prepositions: FOR (+ period of time) I have been learning how to play chess for three years now. He has been sleeping for ten hours. We have been travelling for two months. Use: Lately / Recently With the adverbs lately or recently, we use the present perfect continuous to talk about new developments which may be temporary: Helen’s been spending a lot of time at the club lately. (= She didn’t use to.) Recently I’ve been living in Sue’s flat. (=temporary) Verbs not used with continuous Some verbs (e.g. be / belong to / consist of / doubt / exist / know / like / love / adore / believe / hate / have (= own) / mean / need / possess / seem / think / understand / want) are not normally used in the continuous: Verbs not used with continuous I’ve had a pain in my stomach since I got up this morning. I’ve been here since Tuesday. How long have you had your car? How long have you known Jane? Summary Perfect – PRESENT RESULT I've done the accounts – here they are. Present Perfect Continuous – ACTIVITY I've been doing my accounts all afternoon. Present Summary Perfect – REPEATED ACTION She has played with the symphony orchestra three times this season. Present Perfect Continuous – DURATION OF ACTION She has been playing with the symphony orchestra all season. Present Summary Perfect – HOW MUCH / HOW MANY / HOW MANY TIMES How many films have you watched so far? I’ve watched 3 films. Present Perfect Continuous – HOW LONG How long have you been watching films? I’ve been watching films since 8 o’clock. Present Summary Perfect – PERMANENT People have eaten a lot less meat over the last twenty years or so. Present Perfect Continuous – TEMPORARY People have been eating less meat recently because of the crisis. Present Use the present perfect continuous tense correctly! Bibliography 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Bourke K.: Verbs and Tenses: Intermediate. Test it, Fix it. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. Leech G., Cruickshank B., Ivanic R.: An A-Z of English Grammar & Usage. Harlow: Longman, 2004. Murphy R.: English Grammar in Use. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Swan M.: Practical English Usage. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Thomas A. J., Martinet A. V.: A practical English Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986. Vince M.: Intermediate Language Practice (New Edition) . Oxford: Macmillan Education 2010.