Present Perfect Progressive

What are Present Perfect Progressive verbs?

The present perfect progressive verb is a form of present perfect verb tense that conveys an ongoing action that began in the past and continues into the present. It is composed of two parts: the present participle – which indicates an ongoing action and is formed by ‘being’ plus the present participle – i.e. ‘been + present participle’.

The present perfect progressive can be used to talk about actions that began at some point in the past and are still continuing or recently stopped. For example, ‘I have been studying for hours!’ This sentence would indicate that you’ve been studying for some time, but implies it was also recently and is no longer happening as you speak.

In contrast, using only present perfect – ‘I have studied for hours’ – would suggest that you have done a lot of studying in general, without necessarily suggesting when this happened.

Present Perfect Progressive Rules

Learning these four critical rules when using the Present Perfect Progressive will help communication become clearer and easier.

ConjugationsBe aware that many verbs have unique present conjugations and must be memorized separately from the regular form – for example, the verb ‘I went’ becomes going instead of ‘went’.
Habitual actionsRemember that present sentences indicate habitual actions or those which occur in the present tense.
DescriptionsPresent verbs emphasize universal truths like wide-spread statements of fact while simple past adverbs can be used to describe an action taking place in the past.
Auxiliary verbPresent questions use an auxiliary verb alongside the main verb – such as ‘did’, ‘was’, or ‘were’ – when forming a question.
Present Perfect Progressive Rules and Explanations Table
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Examples of Present Perfect Progressive Verbs

The present perfect progressive, also known as present perfect continuous, is a verb tense used to describe actions that started in the past and are still happening. This can be used with all subjects to indicate uninterrupted action in present, present eternity, and present result. Some examples of present perfect progressive verbs include:

  • Eating
  • Writing
  • Running
  • Studying
  • Listening

All these activities refer to a process occurring and may continue into the future, describing unfinished business. These present perfect progressive verbs can also describe something recently completed depending on context. For instance, if you were talking about what you ate for breakfast today you would use the present perfect progressive verb “eating”. The present perfect progressive expresses an activity which has been extended over some period of time up until now.

Present Perfect Progressive Exercises with Answers


  • I have been _ for two weeks.
  • She has been _ around Europe.
  • They have been _ since 5:00 pm.
  • He has been _ all morning.
  • Katie has been _ time on the computer.


  • I have been studying for two weeks.
  • She has been travelling around Europe.
  • They have been waiting since 5:00 pm.
  • He has been working all morning.
  • Katie has been killing time on the computer.

Present Perfect Progressive Verbs List

Have been eatingTypically occurs multiple times throughout the day for sustenance.
Have been thinkingAn individual’s thought process.
Have been speakingCommonly used when communicating.
Have been doubtingA way of saying something is unsure
Have been leavingUsed to indicate impermanence
Have been goingSuggests expectations of going somewhere.
Have been writingTo describe an action of recording things down.
Present Perfect Progressive Verbs List Table
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Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners

One of the best pieces of advice I can give to ESL students and English language learners is to focus on mastering the present perfect progressive. This highly versatile tense provides a lot of room to express past events in a sentence with future implications.

It’s important that students understand how to use it correctly, as this allows for wider flexibility when constructing sentences. With the present perfect progressive, you can accurately communicate two points at once: something started in the present and is still continuing. Mastering this aspect of grammar can make your writing much more precise and powerful!

Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand present perfect, past perfect and past perfect progressive.

Common Mistakes Made by English Learners

English learners can sometimes make mistakes when learning English grammar rules, and one of the most common ones is using present perfect progressive incorrectly. Rather than using present perfect progressive to describe an action that began in the past and is still happening, learners often mistakenly use present perfect simple to talk about the same thing.

To properly use present perfect progressive, think of it as a way to talk about an action that began in the past but is continuing into present or near-future time. It’s important for learners to be mindful of this distinction so they can express themselves more accurately as they continue their journey of learning English.

Common Mistakes:

1. Incorrect Tense

Why it Happens

Not having a firm grasp on correct tense usage can confuse your statements. This can cause you to use the wrong verbs and misconstrue your message.

Correct Use

When speaking in the Present Perfect Progressive tense, you would use a verb that reflects current habits and routines. Keep tense in mind when selecting your verbs.

2. Lack of Compounds

Why it Happens

The first mistake is leaving out verbs when needed. Failing to use these in phrases can lead others to misinterpret what you are trying to express.

Correct Use

Verbs join two words to actions – for example, ‘to eat something’ or ‘I am crossing the street’.

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3. Inconsistency

Why it Happens

People forget how they described something before and change the context in a contradictory manner. This confuses the reader.

Correct Use

Be sure that your verbs remain consistent throughout your writing. There should be no sudden shifts from ‘happen’ to ‘finish’ unless there was a clear shift in the thing being described.

4. Incorrect Usage

Why it Happens

You don’t know which verbs to use, so you use too many and it confuses the statement.

Correct Use

Using too many verbs can make your writing sound monotonous and can also lead to viewers losing interest. Therefore it is important to focus on expressing yourself clearly and effectively with them.

Tips to Avoid Common Mistakes:

The present perfect progressive is a great way to bring the present and past together in a sentence, but it can be tricky to use correctly. To avoid common mistakes when using present perfect progressive, there are a few tips that can help.

  • First, only use present perfect progressive when talking about actions that started in the past and are still happening in present.
  • Secondly, present perfect progressive should always have a conjugated verb as well as participles for both ‘have’ and ‘been’.
  • Additionally, try to be specific about the time period or duration being expressed.

With these tips in mind and a bit of practice, you’ll be able to master the present perfect progressive in no time!

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Learning Present Perfect Progressive Strategies and Best Practices

Present perfect progressive is an essential grammatical device for proficient English-language writing and speaking. Fortunately, learning the present perfect progressive structure and its various uses does not have to be a daunting task. While memorizing each specific usage of the present perfect progressive can be time-consuming, committing to focusing on the present perfect progressive in everyday use can lead to success in mastering this intricate verb tense. Additionally, keep reading for more useful tips:

Tip 1: Study a List

Why it helps

Learning the various forms and using them properly in speaking and writing is easier than it seems with daily practice. A list can simplify this process and make it seem less daunting.

Daily Life Example

The best way to learn to use verbs correctly is to study a list of verbs and their usages, and then practice writing sentences with them.

Tip 2: Practice Reading

Why it helps

Exposing yourself to verbs hidden between other words can help you identify them faster and with more accuracy.

Daily Life Example

To ensure that you understand how frequently a type of verb should be used it’s important to practice reading with them as well, so the meanings become clear. So keep a book of your choice on hand and highlight every verb you come across.

Tip 3: Everyday Conversations

Why it helps

By applying the verbs exercise to everyday conversations, you’ll find these words easy to remember and use in the near future.

Daily Life Example

Take your time when speaking to people. Take note of the verbs they use, and try and repeat them back in different contexts. You can also do this from the comfort of your home by recording yourself or using an AI assistant.

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Present Perfect Progressive Verbs Frequently Asked Questions

The present progressive is a verb tense used to describe things that are happening in the present. An example of present progressive that can be seen in everyday life includes “I’m walking” or “They are talking”. This present progressive form of a verb is also referred to as present perfect progressive, which shows the continuous action taking place.

Although present progressive can be used for present actions, it can also be used to indicate future events that have been planned: “We are flying to Japan tomorrow.” Similarly, present progressive can also express ongoing thoughts or feelings: “I’m feeling anxious about the exam results.” As this verb tense helps communicate what’s happening right now, it’s an invaluable part of learning English language skills.

The present perfect is a verb tense used to express actions that happened at an unspecified point in the past or actions that began in the past and are continuing into the present. There are five examples of the present perfect tense, including present perfect simple, present perfect progressive, present perfect continuous, present perfect for unfinished actions and present perfect used with already and yet.

Specifically, present perfect progressive has two uses: when we want to talk about ongoing situations in the present, like “I have been working on this project for weeks” or when we want to talk about an action that was shorter than expected due to interruption, such as “I have been running for thirty minutes so far but my phone rang and I have to stop now.” Understanding how to use present perfect is important for effectively communicating in English.

The present perfect progressive tense is one of the most useful English tenses for expressing an ongoing action that began at some point in the past and extends up to the present moment. This tense is also commonly referred to as present perfect continuous. It can be used to describe routines or habits, situations or conditions that are currently true, and actions or events that show the result of something done regularly in the past.

By using present perfect progressive, speakers are able to convey a sense of continuity and duration to their statements. It is an essential element in English grammar and its proper use can enhance clarity and precision when communicating.

The three progressive tenses are present progressive, past progressive and present perfect progressive.

The present progressive tense is used when referring to an ongoing action or a state in the present moment, such as ‘I am running’.

The past progressive tense is used when referring to an ongoing action or a state that was in progress at a certain time in the past, such as ‘I was running’.

Finally, the present perfect progressive is used to refer to an ongoing action or state that began in the past and continues up until now, such as ‘I have been running’. All three tenses allow us to express ideas involving continuity of action over time.

The present perfect progressive is a continuous tense which emphasizes indefinite actions that began in the past and are ongoing or still continuing. It is most often used to express situations that have recently been completed or stopped, or for timeline descriptions.

For example, ‘I have been living in this city for four years’, or ‘She has been studying Italian for six months’. This tense can also be used to talk about states of mind like feelings or thoughts, as seen in the statement ‘I have been worrying about her all day.’

There are many verb forms in the English language. These include stative verbs, non-continuous verbs, mixed verbs, action verbs, common verbs, progressive verb tenses, Ing verbs, dynamic verbs, and many others that can help you convey differences in meaning. Using a verb correctly can help you depict a duration of time, time reference, and habitual event. With a little practice, you will be using verbs like native speakers. 

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