Using the present perfect continuous

(also called the present perfect progressive)

Read about how to make the present perfect continuous tense here.
Download this explanation in PDF here.

Present Perfect Continuous Infographic

Unfinished actions
1: To say how long for unfinished actions which started in the past and continue to the present. We often use this with 'for' and 'since' (see the the present perfect simple page for more about 'for' and 'since'). This use is very similar to how we use the present perfect simple, and often it's possible to use either tense. Of course, with stative verbs, we can't use the present perfect continuous. 2: For temporary habits or situations. The action started in the past and continues to the present in the same way as with use number 1, but we don't answer the questions about 'how long' so clearly. Instead, we use a word like 'recently'. This is very similar to the use of the present continuous for temporary habits and often either tense is possible.

Finished actions
3: Actions which have recently stopped (though the whole action can be unfinished) and have a result, which we can often see, hear, or feel, in the present. We don't use a time word here. The present perfect simple has a very similar use, which focuses on the result of the action, whereas the present perfect continuous focuses on the action itself. See my page here about the difference between the present perfect simple and the present perfect continuous for more explanation.

Here's a list of all the present perfect and present perfect continuous exercises.

If you want to learn more about the tenses, especially about how to use them when you're speaking, you could try my video course, Terrific Tenses, which is part of Perfect English Grammar Plus.

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'A' and 'The' Explained