Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous Compared

Let’s revise when we use Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous.

Exam in Mind Level B1 / B2

Present Perfect (have, has + V3) is used to describe:

  • recently completed  actions connected in their result with the present: She has just painted the room.
  • actions beginning in the past and continuing up to the present: I haven’t seen him for ages.
  • indefinite past actions or experiences: She has been to Rome. I have never eaten sushi.
  • completed past action in the subordinate clause with superlative constructions, ordinal numerals or ‘the only’ in the principal clause: It’s the most boring book I’ve ever read. 

Time expressions: ever, never, already, yet, lately, recently, just, before, so far, since, since then, etc.

Present Perfect Continuous (have, has + been + Ving) is used to describe:

  • actions that started at  some time in the past, continued over a period of time, and have just stopped with the visible present results: She has been painting her room. It smells of paint. 
  • actions that started at  some time in the past, continued over a period of time, and are still happening now: She has been waiting for two hours but there’s still no sign of him. 

Time expressions: since, since then, since when, how long, for ages,  for a long time, in recent years, over the past three years, etc.

Have grammar practice using Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous

Put the verbs in brackets into the Present Perfect or Present Perfect Continuous.

  1. I (learn) _______ English at High School. I (learn) _______ English for three months. I (learn) _______ most of the irregular verbs.
  2. Mary (not/arrive) _______ yet. Do you think she (get) _______ lost?
  3. This is the third letter I (write) _______ to him.
  4. Ann (garden) _______ all afternoon. She (plant) _______ a lot of rose bushes.
  5. Steve (try) _______ to contact you all day. Where you (be) _______?
  6. He (see) _______ a lot of Mary recently.
  7. Your eyes are red. You (cry) _______?
  8. Look at the mess my papers are in! Who (read) _______ them?
  9. How long the children (sleep) _______?
  10. I (play) _______ tennis three times this week.
  11. My mother (do) _______ all her Christmas shopping.
  12. I (do) _______ Christmas shopping all day.
  13. I (clean) _______ the car. Doesn’t it look nice?
  14. You look tired. – I (wash) _______ clothes all day.
  15. A strong wind (blow) _______ all day. It (blow) _______ a tree over.
  16. How many driving lessons you (have) _______?
  17. What’s that dent in the side of the car? You (have) _______ an accident?
  18. Your Italian is very good. You (study) _______ it long?
  19. I’m sorry. Nick’s not here, he (go) _______ to the dentist. He (have) _______ trouble with his tooth.
  20. Do you mind if I clear the table? You (have) _______ enough to eat?
  21. I’m not surprised he (fail) _______ that exam. He (not/work) _______ hard recently.
  22. Oh, no! The children (cook) _______. Look at the state of this kitchen!
  23. How many times Mary (be) _______ late for work this week?
  24. You (not/buy) _______  your mother a present? That’s really mean of you!
  25. Now where are my keys? This is the third time I (lose) _______ them today!
  26. She (wait) _______ for two hours but there’s still no sigh of him.
  27. Your tennis really (improve) _______! You (practise) _______ in secret?
  28. Someone (eat) _______ the sweets. The box is nearly empty.
  29. Ben (be) _______ to Italy several times.
  30. She (tell) _______ lies all her life.
  31. I (search) _______ for a house for weeks now, but so far I (not find) _______ anything suitable.
  32. I (feel) _______ ill since I (get) _______ up this morning.
  33. That man (stand) _______ outside the shop for hours.
  34. The castle (stand) _______ on that hill for 900 years.
  35. A team of experts (excavate) _______ the site for years and they recently (start) _______ working in the area with new equipment.