Present Perfect Continuous Tense Chart & Table in English with Rules, Usage Examples, Definitions, and Best Practices for English Learners

present perfect continuous chart

What is Present Perfect Continuous?

Events, actions, and states or conditions that started in the past and are still ongoing at the moment use the verb tense Present Perfect Continuous. In some modes of instruction, this verb tense is referred to as the Present Perfect Progressive.

Typically, it’s used for two general contexts. First, an action that began in the recent past and is happening until now, which may include an indication, usually an adverb modifier, of an estimated period of time. Second, an action that is developing until recently with some influence that continues into the present. 

The Importance of a Tense Chart in English Language Learning

Tense charts put grammar rules in a clearer perspective. It’s a prevalent method because it is effective, and quite an invaluable reference tool for learning English, or any other language for that matter. English grammar has a total of 12 verb tenses, but only 4 of these (the simple tenses and the present continuous tense) are commonly used in general communication. Having said that, the usage of the rest of the tenses can come in handy for more complex language requirements, especially in writing for academic and professional purposes. 

Additionally, because there are 12 tenses that allude to 12 different emphases in time, the rules can often be confusing. For instance, the sentence “They are opening the gates at 2 p.m..” talks about a future event but is stated in the present tense. It’s not any different from saying “They will open the gates at 2 p.m.” Both sentences are correct in grammar and meaning. It’s not one or the other, but are two options for stating the same thing. 

Verb tense charts like the ones in this article can be printed as resources or tools to assist your English language studies. They are comprehensive, straightforward, and clear, with formats, practical sentence examples, and different sentence structures included. It’s crucial to develop a more robust understanding of tenses and how they are applied in English communication.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense Format or Structure

Verb Tense Structure Chart

TenseRule and FormulaExample
Present Perfect ContinuousSubject + have/has + been + present participle (verb + ing) + object (or the rest of the sentence)Sonia has been editing the wedding video for 3 days.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense in Sample Sentences

  • My entire family has been living around this area.
  • Duke has been prepping for the meal since 4 a.m.
  • They have been trying to contact Miguel for weeks.
  • I have been traveling along the coast since summer began.
  • We have been making a huge effort to meet their demands.
  • Dionne has been telling people that she’s quitting her position.
  • Carlos has been managing the science lab for over 7 years now.
  • Trixie has been working at the flower shop since she was 14 years old.
  • Egon and Tim have been running the factory as equal business partners.
  • The fourth graders have been reviewing all 3 Perfect Tenses since Monday.

Uses of Present Perfect Continuous Tense Chart and Examples

The present perfect continuous tense is utilized to denote two general circumstances. Take a look at the chart below:

Present Perfect Continuous Usage Chart

UsesExamples
Actions that started at a previous point in time and are still occurring.He has been talking for an hour.
Actions that have ended but the continuity of which is highlighted to explain its effect on the present.“Why is your shirt stained?” – I have been eating spaghetti.

Present Perfect Continuous and Its 2 Uses

1. To express prior actions that are still happening

  • She has been staying up there all this time.
  • Tony has been making a career as a gamer.
  • Malek has been napping for the past two hours.
  • The crew has been constructing the fence for a week.
  • Fatima’s company has been operating in the Greater Cloister area.
  • Anne’s kids have been running around the playground since they arrived.

2. To explain the current effects of actions that have ended

  • “Is this situation normal?” – They have been processing requests that way.
  • “Can you explain this letter?” – Baron has been doing well in Math and English. 
  • “Why are the police here?” – Her neighbor has been playing music at full volume.
  • “Why did you tear down the gazebo?” – Mario has been toying with the idea of a pool.
  • “Why are you pinned to your computer?” – I have been canceling email subscriptions all morning.
  • “Can you explain the mess in the living room?” – Darren has been building a castle using his Legos.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense Chart with Different Sentence Structures 

Let’s take a look at the table below and see how the present perfect continuous tense is used in different kinds of sentence structures.

(Important: In casual conversations, people normally use contractions i.e She hasn’t been eating. or We haven’t been telling the truth. Spelling it out as has not/have not is also correct, but this practice is usually reserved for formal interactions and letters.)

Present Perfect Continuous Sentence Structure Guide Chart

Sentence StructureFormulaExample
AffirmativeSubject + Have/has + Been + Present participle (verb + ing) + Object (or the rest of the sentence)Troy has been typing all day.
NegativeSubject + Hasn’t/Haven’t + Been + Present participle (verb + ing) + Object (or the rest of the sentence)Janica hasn’t been studying future tense verbs as she promised.
Interrogative (affirmative)Has/Have + Subject + Been + Present participle form (verb + ing) + rest of the sentence?Has Mari been living out there?
Interrogative (negative)Hasn’t/Haven’t + Subject + Been + Present participle (verb + ing) + rest of the sentence?Haven’t they been reviewing the progressive tense types as I told them to?
Interrogative with Question WordQuestion word + Has/Have + Subject (at times unnecessary with the question word “who”) + Been + Present participle (verb + ing) + rest of the sentence?Why has Sean been crying for the past 10 minutes?
 

More Present Perfect Continuous Tense Examples in Different Sentence Structures

Here are the sentences structures with more examples for your reference:

1. Affirmative/Positive Sentence

Formula for Affirmative/Positive Sentences
Subject + Have/has + Been + Present participle (verb + ing) + Object (or the rest of the sentence)

Affirmative/Positive Sentence Examples:

  • Marklin has been singing the same song for an hour.
  • Nevra and Alexi have been participating in the tennis league.
  • They have been watching a movie marathon since yesterday.
  • Wamba has been exploring abandoned urban sites for his blog.
  • My mom has been checking her students’ papers since last night.
  • Gary has been looking at that painting since he arrived at the museum.

2. Negative Sentence

Formula for Negative Sentences
Subject + Hasn’t/haven’t + Been + Present participle (verb + ing) + Object (or the rest of the sentence)

Negative Sentences Examples:

  • Peter hasn’t been doing his chores all week.
  • Margaret hasn’t been returning Pepper’s calls.
  • I haven’t been running antivirus on my computer.
  • They haven’t been studying at the university for very long.
  • You haven’t been keeping the secret as well as you should.
  • Their football team hasn’t been playing fair the whole season. 

3. Interrogative (affirmative)

Formula for Interrogative Affirmative Sentences
Has/Have + Subject + Been + Present participle (verb + ing) + rest of the sentence?

Interrogative (affirmative) Sentence Examples:

  • Has Michael been checking on the produce?
  • Have the guys been reading the new updates?
  • Has Chandra been telling us the truth all along?
  • Have you been behaving well at your aunt’s house?
  • Has Trevor been humming the same tune all this time?
  • Have they been writing the report on the quarter’s results?

4. Interrogative (negative)

Formula for Interrogative Negative Sentences
Hasn’t/Haven’t + Subject + Been + Present participle (verb + ing) + rest of the sentence?

Interrogative (negative) sentence examples:

  • Hasn’t your mom been using a smartphone?
  • Hasn’t Lemuel been selling cleaning equipment? 
  • Haven’t the clubs been answering the invitations?
  • Haven’t the servers been refilling the snack stations?
  • Hasn’t she been getting updates about the new system?
  • Haven’t the members been filling up the registration forms?

5. Interrogative with Question Word

Formula for Interrogative Sentences with Question Words
Question word + Has/Have + Subject (at times unnecessary with the question word “who”) + Been + Present participle (verb + ing) + rest of the sentence?

Interrogative with Question Word Sentence Examples:

  • Where have they been staying
  • Why has she been crying all morning?
  • How has Lyle been surviving without a job?
  • How have you been dealing with the oversight?
  • Who has been giving the staff the wrong protocol?
  • Who has Jake been writing to for the past few months?
English Perfect Continuous

Conclusion

A table or chart of tenses complete with rules, explanations, and examples is a great resource for anyone learning English. Since self-study is a popular and necessary method for English language learning, almost all learners have customized their own charts at some point in their studies. You should consider studying the charts in this article and other related content in our blog to base a framework for your own charts and tables. Nothing beats personalized tools as they not only keep your interest, but you can tailor the language to your own daily requirements, whether it’s for writing or speaking, formally or informally, for casual or specific purposes, and so on. Go the extra mile to continuously develop your grammatical knowledge and fluency. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where should the present perfect continuous tense be used?


There are two general situations where the present perfect continuous tense can be used. The first one is when signifying the present influence of a past event. This is often used as a way to explain a past action’s continual effects in the present. The second one is when denoting an action that started recently and is ongoing at the current time. This usage often comes with an adverbial modifier or a phrase that starts with words such as since and for to reference a period of time.

Which form of the verb is used in the present perfect continuous?


Basically, you use the auxiliary or helping verb have or has been, followed by the present participle form (-ing) of your main verb. For example, The ducks have been swimming across the lake. There are other formulas for different sentence structures which you can find in this article. 

What is the structure of the interrogative present perfect continuous tense?


The interrogative sentence structure can come in a few forms:
In interrogative affirmative sentences, the present perfect continuous will appear like this: Has the baby been eating well?
In interrogative negative sentences, it is used like so: Has the baby not been sleeping well?
Interrogative sentences with question words look like this: Why has the baby been crying all afternoon?
Review the article for more practical examples. 

Can the present perfect continuous tense exist without the word since and for?


Of course. “I have been working there.” and “I have been working there for three months.” are both correct. Obviously, the former sentence doesn’t include a time period, but that the action began in the past and is still going on at present is implied.

What is the difference between the present continuous tense and the perfective aspect?


The present perfect tense references actions that began in the past but have currently finished. For example, when you say “I have reviewed the paper.”, it means you started reviewing it sometime before and you’re done reviewing it at the time of speaking. Whereas the present perfect continuous tense talks about actions that began prior but are still happening at this very instant. “I have been reviewing the paper.” means you started the action previously and have not yet finished it. In some cases, the present perfect continuous tense alludes to events that are finished, but the effects of the aforementioned events are still occurring. This aspect is commonly used as an explanation behind the action’s ongoing influence. For example, “Why is the dog wet?” -“She has been running by the pond.” The dog isn’t running now, but the statement emphasizes that it’s the reason that the animal is wet.

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William Landry

William Landry

William is a professional English and ESL teacher with over 15 years of experience. He has taught students of all ages, from children to business executives, and has worked with ESL learners from all over the globe. With a degree in English Education, William has developed curriculum for learners of all levels and interests. He is passionate about helping people learn English effectively and shares his knowledge with the LillyPad community. When he’s not teaching or writing, William enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.

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