Present Perfect Continuous
|I / you / we / they||he / she / it|
|+||I’ve been using a new app.||He’s been using a new app.|
|–||I haven’t been sleeping well.||She hasn’t been sleeping well.|
|Y/N?||Have they been living abroad? Yes, they have. / No, they haven’t.||Has he been living abroad? Yes, he has. / No, he hasn’t.|
Unfinished actions and states (duration)
We use the present perfect with state verbs:
- We’ve owned this car for several years and it has never broken down.
- She’s known him since they were children. They’re very good friends.
We use present perfect continuous with action verbs:
- How long have you been waiting?
- I’ve been working on my essay
- He’s been playing very well so far in this match.
Some verbs (e.g. work, live) can be used as action verbs or state verbs with no important change of meaning: How long have you worked here? / How long have you been working here?
Recent past actions with present results
We use the present perfect simple when completing an action has a result now:
- I’ve just finished my essay. (the result of finish writing = I can relax, I can hand in the work, etc.)
- The house looks lovely. Thanks! We’ve just painted it. (the result of finishing painting = the house looks nice)
We use the present perfect continuous when doing an activity has a result now:
- I’m tired because I’ve been writing an essay. (the result of writing = I’, tired).
- What’s that smell? We’ve been painting the living room. (the result of painting = the house smells of paint)
New habits and repeated actions
We use the present perfect continuous to describe repeated activities which started recently:
- I’ve been doing a lot of exercises lately. (In the past, I didn’t do much exercise)
- She’s been coming to the gym with me three times a week. (She has recently started coming)