When you can use Present Perfect Continuous
- You use Present Perfect Continuous for actions started in the past and continuing up to present.
- I have been expecting you. /action is not finished — I am still expecting/
- What have you been doing? /action is not finished — you are still doing something/
- She has been looking for you everywhere. /action is not finished — she is still looking for you/
- You use Present Perfect Continuous to emphasize the duration of the action (usually used with for, since, how long).Duration — the time period during which something continues.
- We have been listening to music since morning. /= we have been listening to the music for long/
- Why don’t you pick up the phone? He has been calling you for 2 hours. /= he has been calling you for long/
- How long have you been avoiding us? /= you have been avoiding for long/
- You use Present Perfect Continuous for actions expressing irritation and criticism.Irritation — the feeling of being angry and impatient.
- Who has been using my computer? /irritation/
- Why have you been looking at me? /irritation/
- Why haven’t you stop making the same mistakes? /criticism/
- You use Present Perfect Continuous for recent long action that has visible result or effect in the present.
- He looks tired because he has been watching movies all night long. /he has been watching movies all night long — recent long action; he looks tired — visible result/
- We are hungry because we haven’t been eating since morning. /we haven’t eaten since morning — recent long action; we are hungry — visible result/
- She has a headache because she has been listening to music loudly for a couple of hours. /she has been listening to music loudly for a couple of hours — recent long action; she has a headache — visible result/
Time markers in Present Perfect Continuous
- how long
How to build Present Perfect Continuous
I/we/you/they + have + been + V + ing
He/she/it + has + been + V + ing
I/we/you/they + haven’t + been + V + ing
He/she/it + hasn’t + been + V + ing
Have + I/we/you/they + been + V + ing
Has + he/she/it + been + V + ing
Wh + have + I/we/you/they + been + V + ing
Wh + has + he/she/it + been + V + ing
since and for in Present Perfect Continuous
Use since and for to say how long.
Emma moved to Australia in 2018. She still lives in Australia. It’s 2020 now.
How long has Emma been living in Australia?
- Emma has been living in Australia ➔ since 2018.
- Emma has been living in Australia ➔ for 3 years.
Use since + the start of the period (since 2018)
Use for + a period of time (for 3 years)
Be careful! ➔ Stative verbs (e.g. know, see, have, understand, etc) can not be used in Present Perfect Continuous. In this case, you should use the Present Perfect.