Present Perfect Continuous Tense: Examples, Definition, Use, Formula, Structure, Rules, & Exercises for English Learners

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The foundation of any language is grammar; in English, we first acquire information about the different parts of speech such as nouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, pronouns, and so on. We then develop our ability to create sentences, which often include the use of verbs. A vital part of learning how to utilize verbs effectively is to understand the various tenses.

Tenses are verb forms that denote when an activity, event, state, or condition occurs. They may include periods of general or definite time, finished or unfinished. The three major types are present, past, and future. Each main kind is further divided into four parts: simple, continuous (or progressive tense), perfect, and perfect continuous (or perfect progressive tense). That means there are 12 tenses of verbs in the English language. Utilizing every one of them correctly enables you to speak fluently because each one has a distinct meaning and purpose. For instance, the statements “I am eating a banana”, “I ate a banana”, and “I will eat a banana” imply something completely different from each other. First off, “am eating a banana” indicates an activity that is taking place right now. Secondly, “ate a banana” suggests an activity that already happened. Lastly, “will eat a banana” implies an activity that hasn’t taken place yet at unfinished times.

At a glance, verbs may not seem so different from one another, but each variation follows a specific grammar pattern and can help you communicate your thoughts or idea clearly. Before getting too far into the intricacies of verb conjugation, it’s important to understand the basics. Below are the primary rules of verb tenses. Use these guidelines as a starting point before delving deeper into more complex usage.

  • The Present Tense is for events that happen in or around now.
  • The Past Tense is for completed or finished actions.
  • The Future Tense is for actions that haven’t begun at the time of speaking.

Read along for more about the Present Perfect Continuous Tense and study examples to recognize their formulas or patterns in different structures of sentences.

What is the Definition and Meaning of Present Perfect Continuous?

Exactly what is present perfect continuous tense? Like its name suggests, the actions or events that the present perfect continuous tense describes are connected to the moment at hand, or simply “now”. We use this verb tense to refer to past actions that recently stopped or past actions that are still in progress. When talking about actions that finished just now, the emphasis is on the action’s ongoing influence in the present and not the time of its completion. The present perfect tense use the auxiliary verb “has/have been”. Additionally, it often uses time expressions that begin with “since” and “for”. Let’s compare the present perfect continuous tense with the other present tenses in the table below.

Simple Present TenseTilda drinks tea at 4 p.m. every day.
The women make bead accessories.
Saito knows the agenda of the meeting.
ABN broadcasts news and documentaries.
Ocampo donates to the association every month.
Present Continuous TenseHana is hiring a consultant.
Keiko’s dog is growling at the stranger.
Shrishti is cooking curry with her mom.
Fairy lights are glowing in the distance.
We are waiting for the waitress to return.
Present Perfect TenseAdah has studied the subject.
Minji has gotten an art certificate.
Seo-joon and Jin have worked in retail.
Kwan’s children have cleaned their rooms.
The witnesses have identified the culprit.
Present Perfect Continuous TenseVivaan has been editing the video.
Jiah has been living in her aunt’s house.
Ga-young has been speaking to specialists.
The students have been improving steadily.
They have been looking for the perfect present.
Perfect Continuous English Tense

5 Tips on How should English Learners Best Study and Learn the Proper Usage of Present Perfect Continuous Tense Words?

1. Find and use robust, comprehensive, and suitable reference materials such as this blog to learn what you can about the present perfect continuous tense.

2. To develop a solid understanding of the present perfect continuous tense formula, read as many present perfect continuous tense sentences as possible to familiarize yourself with its patterns in a variety of sentence structures.

3. Make space in your vocabulary notebook for the verbs you learn and their conjugations. Separate them according to categories such as the present perfect continuous tense. Write examples taken from your own experiences. Practice becomes easier when sentence subjects are rooted in memory.

4. For further practice, think of a personal story and narrate it using the present perfect continuous tense structure. You can also look at a present perfect tense example and try telling your story in the version of that tense. Because the present perfect continuous tense isn’t typically used in casual conversations, you can use other tenses as long as they make sense in the narrative. A friend can help you as a listener or interviewer.

5. Create your own English grammar charts and tables. This is a useful way to retain vocabulary and practice making a present perfect continuous tense example. You’ll be able to activate your background knowledge later when you need it.

How Do You Use the Present Perfect Continuous Tense?

According to present perfect continuous tense rules, the primary usage of the tense is to denote actions that started at a point in the past and are still ongoing in the present. Another present perfect continuous tense definition is for repeated and continuing actions. Moreover, you can use the structure of the present perfect continuous tense to describe actions and events that were completed recently but have a continuing influence at the time of speaking.

10 Common Verb Examples in Present Perfect Continuous Tense Conjugation 

Base VerbPresent Perfect Continuous Form
RequestSocial media users have been requesting fewer ads.
ThrowResidents have been throwing their trash in the quarry.
GrowNimit has been growing cucumbers in his backyard.
JumpCats have been jumping over the statue in the garden.
ImproveDesigners have been improving their models to exhibit functionality.
SendChung-ha has been sending packages to the flagship for months.
ChangeVietnam has been changing its tourism policies every year in the last decade.
DanceSakura has been dancing a complex routine for the finals.
ManageYuki has been managing the Singapore office since his promotion.
LearnDianne’s English class has been learning examples of the present perfect continuous tense since yesterday.

What is the Present Perfect Continuous Tense Formula?

Present Perfect Continuous Tense Formula
Subject + has/have been + the present participle + Rest of the sentence (or object).

Structures of the Present Perfect Continuous Tenses

You have been reading present perfect continuous tense examples in the affirmative or positive structure so far. But there are other sentence structures, each one following a distinct present perfect continuous tense rule or conjugation. The following table will show more present perfect continuous examples in negative, interrogative, and interrogative negative sentence types. 

21 Present Perfect Continuous Tense Verbs in Other Sentence Types

Read and study each present perfect continuous sentence in the chart below. It will contain negative, interrogative, and present perfect continuous tense interrogative negative sentences examples:

Sentence StructureFormulaExamples
NegativeSubject + Hasn’t/haven’t been + Past participle + Rest of the sentence.Voyd hasn’t been training for a year.
The team hasn’t been jogging for an hour.
Isha hasn’t been completing the weekly tasks.
Gian hasn’t been going to his therapy sessions.
Himaru hasn’t been reading the spring assignment.
Ranbir hasn’t been applying for jobs since graduation.
Fumiko’s chickens haven’t been laying eggs since June.
InterrogativeHas/Have + Subject + Been + Present participle + Rest of the sentence?Has Thalie been ignoring Nora’s texts?
Have the IT guys been updating our access?
Has Marciel been doing the laundry since 8?
Have they been recalibrating the equipment’s OS?
Has Chiyo been adjusting the next issue’s color scheme?
Has Homer been bringing fresh strawberries for a week?
Have Ichika and Kyung-won been discussing the collaboration?
Interrogative NegativeHasn’t/Haven’t + Subject + Been + Present participle + Rest of the sentence?Haven’t I been getting you to listen for weeks?
Hasn’t Nestor been selling pastries for 3 years?
Hasn’t Daniel been working in Saigon since last year?
Hasn’t Won-shik been living up there since he got fired?
Haven’t they been asserting their authority over this project?
Haven’t the Thai delegates been responding to the invites for Monday’s webinar?
Haven’t Diether and Zoren been representing Cronyx since they were hired in September?

Present Perfect Continuous Tense Usage

The present perfect continuous often includes time expressions and talks about recurring actions and events that started at a specific point in the past and are still in progress until the time of speaking.

10 More Present Perfect Continuous Tense Examples

1. Hasn’t Jerry been singing this whole time?

2. Manuel has been delivering our water for 2 years.

3. Rouka hasn’t been fulfilling his end of the bargain.

4. Haven’t the event manager been briefing the performers?

5. Steven has been denying his involvement in my promotion.

6. Peter and Allen haven’t been communicating since the party.

7. Has Dennis been keeping the proposal a secret for 3 months?

8. They have been miscalculating the risks since the project’s inception.

9. Ashley has been reviewing an example of the present perfect continuous tense.

10. Have they been hiding inside the abandoned stable since the game started?

5 Common Mistakes English Students Make When Learning to Use Present Perfect Continuous Tense?

1. Spelling. Because of the number of verb tense rules (for instance, the formula of present perfect continuous tense, among others) and the different types of sentences that affect how each tense is conjugated, it’s easy to make errors in spelling their distinctive conjugations. Add to that the auxiliary verbs that go with half of the tenses. Irregular verbs also deviate from the typical rules of past tense and past participle forms. Luckily, the present perfect continuous formula mostly follows the “helping verb + present participle” rule. Adding “-ing” to the base form of verb is easier to remember. Familiarization and memorization have crucial roles in getting rid of spelling mistakes.

2. Mismatching tenses to incorrect periods of time. A common mistake is using tenses in the wrong periods of time. The current time is the basis for all present tenses, but even among them, the emphasis differs. Remember that the present perfect continuous rule applies to actions that are still happening but has an emphasis on the length of the action from a starting point in a past period of time. The present continuous doesn’t care about the past and instead focuses on the ongoing nature of the action at the time of speaking. The present perfect, on the other hand, emphasizes a past action’s completion in the present.

3. Using 1 method for learning. It’s tedious to quantify the number of learning methods that can lead to English proficiency. You can employ listen-and-repeat techniques, hire a tutor, keep a learning journal, use various textbooks or English language learning software, enroll in offline or online English classes, create learning charts or tables, etc. Sticking to a single method is probably the poorest way to study.

4. Switching tenses when telling a story. Many English language learners encounter problems when they need to talk about a topic for a long time or share a lengthy story. One of the common mistakes is changing tenses throughout the narration. It’s not wrong to do this when it’s appropriate, like when you’re making a side note or comment, or including some background information or context. Changing the tenses of the main verbs of a story can lead to miscommunication or poor comprehension.

5. Translating directly. Direct translation rarely works or captures the essential meaning of the original sentence, which works the same way in the other language. Translations are often rigid and limited to standardized or grammatical interpretations. However, expressions used by native speakers often differ greatly from standard expressions. Also, some languages don’t have verb tenses, so direct translation is not effective in studying languages. You may need to do it in the early stages of learning, but overdoing it or making it habitual will impede your progress.

5 Ways to Avoid Making Common Mistakes?

1. Setting Impossible Goals. The mentality of accomplishing a lot in a short amount of time is a major error in language learning. Learning a language doesn’t happen overnight, or over a year, to be honest, so it’s vital to set achievable benchmarks based on your language level and learning pace.

2. Listen and Speak. Listen to native English speakers, whether in actual interactions or through learning materials and follow the way they speak, explain something, or tell a story. Apply what you’ve learned any chance you get because speaking is the only true path to fluency. Making many mistakes, in the beginning, is normal and expected, but this will help you develop and improve.

3. Decide on a tense. If you look at a perfect continuous tense example, the pattern and rule are straightforward. Make sure to use the tense if you’re referring to an action that began in the past and is still ongoing.

4. Avoid translating. It’s normal to translate but if this becomes your primary means of communication, it’s detrimental to the learning process. Do some present perfect continuous tense exercises, memorize the rule of present perfect continuous tense, and study many present perfect continuous tense examples in English. It’s a great method to develop a natural way of language use.

5. Adapt. Although memorization is essential for beginners, it makes learning mechanical after a long time. Books and teachers can only teach so much. You also need to study on your own. So grab any opportunity to apply your knowledge in practical or real-life situations.

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The Present Perfect Continuous Tense: Checking Your Understanding

Present Perfect Continuous Tense Exercise:

Follow the correct present perfect continuous formula and change the verb in parenthesis to complete the sentence.

1. Rajid (go) …………………… to the theater every Saturday for years.

2. It (rain) …………………… for two hours.

3. Tae Hyung (not/encode) …………………… data today.

4. My dog Fluffy (not/eat) …………………… well recently.

5. Eunice and Leah (not/exercise) …………………… enough.

6. The theater (show) …………………… the play for 5 months.

7. Hiro (develop) …………………… a messaging app for the team.

8. Janza and Austen (pour) …………………… honey into the porridge.

9. Rico (not/call) …………………… the concierge for the packages.

10. Many club members (not/pay) …………………… their dues.


1. Rajid has been going to the theater every Saturday for years.

2. It has been raining for two hours.

3. Tae Hyung hasn’t been encoding data today.

4. My dog Fluffy hasn’t been eating well recently.

5. Eunice and Leah haven’t been exercising enough.

6. The theater has been showing the play for 5 months.

7. Hiro has been developing a messaging app for the team.

8. Janza and Austen have been pouring honey into the porridge.

9. Rico hasn’t been calling the concierge for the packages.

10. Many club members haven’t been paying their dues.

25 Present Perfect Continuous Tense Sentence Examples:

Here are more present perfect continuous tense sentence examples according to functions and sentence structure:

Recent past actions and events

1. Dale has been buying produce.

2. Hyori and Bree have been playing.

3. Rami has been barking at the gate.

4. I’ve been clearing the yard of leaves.

5. It’s been snowing so the ground is covered.

Singular actions that started in the past and are still continuing

6. Pada has been reading the graphic novel.

7. My mother has been arranging the curtains.

8. Grey and Pete have been trimming the hedges.

9. The children have been making snow angels all day.

10. The men in the group have been grilling steaks on the porch.

Repeated events that are still ongoing

11. Myrtle has been ordering in bulk from Korea for years.

12. Gilly’s clients have been doing business with her since 1998.

13. Salome and Mario have been playing tennis every weekend for 2 years.

14. Trillian’s team has been guarding the borderlands since the early 2000s.

15. Neil’s family has been vacationing in Patagonia every year since the 80s.


16. Hasn’t she been visiting every week?

17. Have you been washing your car since morning?

18. Has Raymond been running the motel for a long time?

19. Have the players been complaining about the new coach?

20. Haven’t Olanda and Solen been requiring a cleaning service?

Negative Sentences

21. They haven’t been eating at Bo-gum’s restaurant.

22. Lilac hasn’t been blooming the field since last year’s storm.

23. Jimin’s new reality show hasn’t been filming for a long time.

24. Xian hasn’t been giving Elias the opportunity to speak since we started.

25. The cats haven’t been spending time in the garage since we bought a puppy.

Here are 10 common present participle forms verbs that are used in the Present Perfect Continuous Tense

1. Guerra hasn’t been memorizing his lines in the play.

2. Henry has been adding new assignments to the bucket.

3. Terazzi has been waiting in the car since the rain started.

4. Cleon hasn’t been treating his wound from the accident.

5. Kieran and Job haven’t been aiding the team with the tasks.

6. June and Markus have been filling the cards with dedications.

7. ABC’s developers haven’t been corresponding for a week already.

8. Michelle has been writing an example of the present perfect continuous.

9. They have been acting strange since they returned from the expedition.

10. Sang-soon has been trying to remember the present perfect continuous rules.


So far we’ve covered not just the basics but also some advanced concepts regarding the present perfect continuous tense. You now have a practical and solid understanding of their correct formations and usage. The Lillypad blog has several more articles devoted to the remaining tenses that give complete coverage of the subject matter. It’s essential to learn examples and apply what you’ve learned by implementing them on your own language use and requirements. 

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Frequently Asked Questions for Present Perfect Tense

What are the 2 uses of present perfect continuous?

The first one is for an action that began at some point in the past and is still in progress in the present. The second is for actions that recently finished but with a focus on their duration (from their starting points in the past and their recent completion) and denote an ongoing effect or influence.

Can we use present perfect continuous without “since” and “for”?

Yes, you can. English grammar is quite technical and the present perfect continuous sentence rules can be specific. But this is only for the benefit of distinguishing conjugations. In most conversations, people know what their topic is and can follow the discussion without time expressions or with the simplest of sentences. To illustrate, although the sentence “I have been living upstairs” doesn’t have an exact time expression, it is nevertheless correct. In addition, you can still infer that I started living upstairs sometime in the past and am still living there. You can always ask follow-up questions to know more. “How long?” you might ask (instead of “How long have you been living upstairs?”) and I can answer “2 months.” instead of “I’ve been living upstairs for two months.” Remember that rules are useful to learn, but they’re not always followed or are the only ways to speak 100% of the time.

What are the 4 perfect tenses?

There are only 3 perfect tenses: the present perfect tense, the past perfect tense, and the future perfect tense. There are also 3 perfect continuous tenses (present perfect continuous, past perfect continuous, and future perfect continuous). 

Is the present continuous and present perfect continuous the same?

It may be confusing because they have similar-sounding names, but it’s not difficult to see the difference. They won’t have two different names or labels if they’re the same. If you compare a present perfect continuous example with a sample sentence in the present continuous tense, you’ll also see the difference in formula or structure. The present continuous tense uses the helping verbs “am/is/are” while the present perfect continuous structure uses the helping or auxiliary verb “has been”. The meaning is also different. While they both refer to the ongoing nature of actions in the present, the sole emphasis of the present continuous tense is that the action is in progress now. Meanwhile, the definition of present perfect continuous tense puts focus on when the action started.

How is the present perfect tense different from the present perfect continuous tense?

The present perfect tense focuses on the current result or completion of an action that began in the past. On the other hand, the present perfect continuous emphasizes that the action isn’t over, or if it finished recently its effect is still ongoing.

Present perfect – I have talked to him. (I started talking to him in the past and has stopped now.)
Present perfect continuous – I have been talking to him. (I started talking to him a while ago and will still continue doing so.)

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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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