Using the Present Perfect Continuous Tense

Text design: The present perfect continuous: Usage and examples

Are you wondering when to use the present perfect continuous tense?  We will go over several different ways this tense is used with plenty of examples to help make everything clear.

[Note: Click here to learn how to form  the present perfect continuous.]

Present perfect continuous tense use #1:   Describe the duration of an ongoing action

We use the present perfect continuous to talk about the duration of an action since it started in the past until the present. Since this tells us about the length of the action the phrases "for" and "since" are frequently used.


  • The conference has been going on for three hours.
  • They have been arguing about the game for the past two days.
  • I have been vacationing in Ibiza since the 1990s.
  • What have your kids been doing this summer?
  • Since I graduated I've been looking for a job every day.
  • How long have you been studying English?

Use #2:  To describe recently started actions

The present perfect continuous can be used to talk about things that started very recently in the past.

For example:  

  • I haven't been going out much these days.
  • Recently, I've been eating dinner at home.
  • What have you been doing lately?
  • Lately, we've been working on a new project.
  • My back has been bothering me lately.

Click here to learn how to form  the present perfect continuous tense. Positive and negative forms and questions.

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