Present Perfect Continuous or Present Perfect Progressive

Present Perfect Continuous is used:

  • to indicate the duration of an activity that began in the past and continues to the present: I have been sitting here since seven o’clock. You have been studying for five straight hours. It has been snowing all day. The boys have been playing soccer for two hours. I have been studying for two hours. Have you been learning English for five years? He has been working in the garden since morning. The telephone has been ringing for almost a minute. I have not seen you for weeks. What have you been doing lately?
  • to indicate an action which has recently finished and we see the result of it: Bob is tired. He has been working in the garden all day.

Tense signal words: since, for, all morning, all day, all week, since he came

Question: How long?

Note:

Don’t use the Present Perfect Continuous with the verbs which mean mental activity or emotions: believe, like, know, etc. Use the Present Perfect with these verbs.

She has known Bob since the first form.

Do the exercises

Exercise 1. Make sentences using the Present Perfect Continuous as in the example.

Example: Max began building his house three months ago. He hasn’t finished it yet. – Max has been building his house for three months.

  1. Jane went to the market two hours ago. She hasn’t come back yet.
  2. Granny started cooking three hours ago. She hasn’t finished yet.
  3. I started washing up twenty minutes ago. I haven’t finished yet.
  4. The children started tidying their room an hour ago. They haven’t finished yet.
  5. Grandpa went to work in the garden at 8 o’clock in the morning. He hasn’t come home yet.

Exercise 2. Ask and answer questions using the clues as in the example.

Example: Peter / cook pizza / half and hour – How long has Peter been cooking pizza? He has been cooking pizza for half an hour.

  1. Jenny / walk the dog / two hours
  2. Ron / warm up food in the microwave oven / three minutes
  3. The children / plant trees / all day
  4. Father / fix the iron / all morning
  5. Nelly / make the salad / ten minutes
  6. The girls / baby-sit / since morning

Exercise 3. Ask a question for each situation using the Present Perfect Continuous as in the example.

Example: Bob has a black eye and Bill has a cut lip. (They / fight?) – Have they been fighting?

  1. Helen has just come from the beach. She is very red. (She / lie / in the sun?)
  2. Ron is hot and tired. (He / play / football?)
  3. You see a little boy. His eyes are red and watery. (You / cry?)
  4. You friend comes in. His face and hands are very dirty. (What / he / do?)
  5. You are meeting your friend who is waiting for Kathy (How long / you / wait?)

Exercise 4. Ask questions beginning with “How long …?”

Example: Mike has been writing his homework for an hour. – How long has Mike been writing his homework?

  1. My sister has been learning Italian since she was five.
  2. We’ve been waiting for him for two hours.
  3. They’ve been talking for an hour.
  4. She has been playing the piano since two o’clock in the afternoon.

Exercise 5. Read the following, use the verbs in brackets in the Present Perfect Continuous Tense.

  1. I (look)____________________ at this photo for five minutes, but I can’t see you in it. I’m afraid you (look)____________________ at the wrong one.
  2. She (prompt) ________________ Val since the beginning of the lesson.
  3. These two girls in the last row (chat away)_________________ for quite some time.
  4. He (clean)____________________ the blackboard just a bit too long.
  5. I know you (talk) __________________ about grammar for the last half an hour, but I’m afraid (not listen) __________________.
  6. You (wait) _________________ long for me?
  7. I (mean) ___________________ to see this play for quite some time.
  8. I (stand) ___________________ here in the rain for half an hour or so.
  9. He (learn) ____________________ English for three years, but he can’t even read a newspaper yet.
  10. Lunch is not quite ready yet, although I (cook) __________________all the morning.
  11. It (rain) __________________ since yesterday.
  12. I (wait) ___________________ here for a quarter of an hour.
  13. Lately I (miss) ____________________ him badly.
  14. He (sleep) ____________________ since yesterday afternoon.
  15. It (snow) ___________________ heavily for three days.
  16. You (pick out) ___________________ a salad just a bit too long. Hurry up. There are a lot of people standing behind you.
  17. She (speak) ___________________ before a microphone for half an hour or so. She must be tired.
  18. He (solve) __________________ this problem too long. It must be very difficult.
  19. She (clean) _______________________ the flat since morning and there is still very much to do.

Exercise 6. Supply the Present Perfect Continuous of the verbs in brackets.

  1. I’m tired. I (dig) _________________ all day.
  2. How long you (wait) ______________________ here?
  3. I (stand)____________________here since 6 o’clock.
  4. How long you (learn) _____________________Chinese?
  5. She (study) __________________ English for five years.
  6. You’re out of breath. You (run) _________________________?
  7. We (live) ______________________ here for twelve years.
  8. Your eyes are red. You (cry) _________________________?
  9. How long the children (sleep) ______________________?
  10. What you (do) ___________________ all afternoon?

 Exercise 7. Read the following, use the verbs in brackets in the Present Perfect Continuous Tense.

  1. I (look)____________________ at this photo for five minutes, but I can’t see you in it. I’m afraid you (look)____________________ at the wrong one.
  2. She (prompt) ________________ Val since the beginning of the lesson.
  3. These two girls in the last row (chat away)_________________ for quite some time.
  4. He (clean)____________________ the blackboard just a bit too long.
  5. I know you (talk) __________________ about grammar for the last half an hour, but I’m afraid (not listen) __________________.
  6. You (wait) _________________ long for me?
  7. I (mean) ___________________ to see this play for quite some time.
  8. I (stand) ___________________ here in the rain for half an hour or so.
  9. He (learn) ____________________ English for three years, but he can’t even read a newspaper yet.
  10. Lunch is not quite ready yet, although I (cook) __________________all the morning.
  11. It (rain) __________________ since yesterday.
  12. I (wait) ___________________ here for a quarter of an hour.
  13. Lately I (miss) ____________________ him badly.
  14. He (sleep) ____________________ since yesterday afternoon.
  15. It (snow) ___________________ heavily for three days.
  16. You (pick out) ___________________ a salad just a bit too long. Hurry up. There are a lot of people standing behind you.
  17. She (speak) ___________________ before a microphone for half an hour or so. She must be tired.
  18. I (mean) ____________________ to write to her for quite some time.
  19. He (solve) __________________ this problem too long. It must be very difficult.
  20. She (clean) _______________________ the flat since morning and there is still very much to do.

Exercise 8. Answer the following questions. Use the Present Perfect Continuous.

Example: Are you tired? – Yes, I’ve been waiting for you since two o’clock.

  1. Does she continue to take violin lessons?
  2. Do they still live there?
  3. Is he still talking over the phone?
  4. Is she still waiting for me?
  5. Who is that crying?
  6. Who is that shouting?
  7. Your jeans look quite new. How long have you been wearing them?
  8. You are wearing a new skirt, aren’t you? How long have you been wearing it?
  9. You are studying English, aren’t you? How long have you been studying it now?

Exercise 9. Supply the Present Perfect Continuous of the verbs in brackets.

  1. I’m tired. I (dig) _________________ all day.
  2. How long you (wait) ______________________ here?
  3. I (stand)____________________here since 6 o’clock.
  4. How long you (learn) _____________________Chinese?
  5. She (study) __________________ English for five years.
  6. You’re out of breath. You (run) _________________________?
  7. We (live) ______________________ here for twelve years.
  8. Your eyes are red. You (cry) _________________________?
  9. How long the children (sleep) ______________________?
  10. What you (do) ___________________ all afternoon?

Exercise 10. Use the Present Perfect or the Present Perfect Continuous. With certain verbs (most notably live, work, teach), there is little or no difference in meaning between the two tenses when since or for is used.

  1. It (snow) _________ all day. I wonder when it will stop.
  2. We (have) _________ three major snowstorms so far this winter. I wonder how many more we will have.
  3. It’s 10 p.m. I (study) _________ for two hours and probably won’t finish until midnight.
  4. I (write) _________ them three times, but I still haven’t received a reply.
  5. The telephone (ring) _________ four times in the last hour, and each time it has been for my office mate.
  6. The telephone (ring) _________ for almost a minute. Why doesn’t someone answer it?
  7. (you, be) _________ able to reach Bob on the phone yet? – Not yet. I (try) _________ for the last twenty minutes, but all I get is a busy signal.
  8. Hi, Jenny. I (see, not) _________ you for weeks. What (you, do) _________ lately? – Studying.
  9. What are you going to order for dinner? – Well, I (have, never) _________ vegetarian pizza, so I think I’ll order that.
  10. What’s the matter? Your eyes are red and puffy. (you, cry) _________ ? – No, I’ve just finished peeling onions.
  11. Dr. Jones is a good teacher. How long (he, be) _________ at the university? – He (teach) _________ here for twenty-five years.
  1. The little girl is dirty from head to foot because she (play) _________ in the mud.