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Present Perfect Continuous

(I have been doing)

Have/has been -ing

Have/has been ing is the present perfect


I/we/they/you have (= Ive, etc.)

he/she/it has (= hes,


doing, waiting,
playing, etc.

Present perfect continuous

The present continuous describes what a person

is doing.
The present perfect continuous tells how long a
person has been doing that action.


Katie is delivering mail.

She has been delivering mail for two hours.
she has been working for the post office since 1997.

Present perfect continuous

The present perfect continuous talks

about an action that started in the past
and continues in the present. The action is
not yet complete. It tells how long the
action has been in progress.

He has been washing windows since 8:00.

They have been waiting for the bus for twenty minutes.

Present perfect continuous

since 8:00.
been working
for two hours.


Since & For

You can use the present perfect continuous for
actions that are repeated over a period of time:

Debbie is a very good tennis player. Shes been

playing since she was eight.
Every morning they meet in the same caf.
Theyve been going there for years.

For and since

For shows an amount of time.

for three hours
for ten days

Since tells when an action started

since 2:00
since he came to the United States

For and since

For shows an amount of time:

Since tells when an action started:

for a few minutes

since 2:00

for three weeks

since 1998

for two years

since Sunday
since she began her new job



I am doing vs. I have been doing

Compare I am doing and I have been doing:

I am doing
present continuous


I have been doing

present perfect continuous


Dont bother me now. Im working.

Ive been working hard, so now

Im going to take a break.

We need an umbrella. Its raining.

The ground is wet. Its been


Hurry up! Were waiting.

Weve been waiting for an hour.

How long questions

How long has she been looking for a job?
How long have they been living in the city?

How long have you (been)?

We use the present perfect (especially with how long, for, and
since) to talk about something that began in the past and still
continues now. Compare the present and the present perfect:





We know each other very well.

Weve known each other since we were in high school.
(not We know)
Do you have a pain in your stomach?
How long have you had the pain?
(not How long do you have)
Im learning English.
Ive been learning English for six months.
(not I am learning)
Hes waiting for somebody.
Hes been waiting all morning.

How long have you (been)?

I have known/had/lived, etc., is the
present perfect simple.
I have been learning/been waiting/been
doing, etc., is the present perfect

In most situations with how long, since, and

for, the continuous is more usual:
Ive been studying English for six months.
(more usual than Ive studied)
Its been raining since lunchtime.
Richard has been doing the same job for
20 years.
How long have you been driving?
Since I was 17.

But some verbs (for example, know/like/believe) are not normally

used in the continuous:
How long have you known Jane?
(not have you been knowing)
You can use either the present perfect continuous or present perfect
simple with live and work:
John has been living / has lived in Denver for a long time.
How long have you been working / have you worked here?
But we use the simple (Ive done / Ive lived, etc.) with always:
John has always lived in Denver. (not has always been living)
We use the present perfect simple in negative sentences like these:
I havent seen Tom since Monday.
(= Monday was the last time I saw him)
Jane hasnt called me for two weeks.
(= the last time she called was two weeks ago)