English Grammar

Present perfect continuous sentences with their usages

Present Perfect Continuous

In this opportunity, we will talk about the present perfect continuous. This type of verb is used to denote an action that happened in the past and continues to continue in the present . Typically, the duration of such action and the time it took to perform it are emphasized. The speaker can also give importance to the process that took said action, which may continue to happen or may have ended, as well as the result that it had. Present perfect continuous sentences

The present perfect continuous form

There are two key elements that make up a present perfect continuous . First, an auxiliary verb “to have” is used , together with the past participle of the verb “to be” . Then, it is followed by the base verb in the present participle (ie: base verb + “ing” ).

It should be remembered that, to speak in the third person in its singular form, the auxiliary verb “has” is used . To speak in the first or second person singular or in the first and third person plural, the auxiliary verb “have” is used. Next, we will show you an example of how a sentence is constructed using the present perfect continuous .

Subject Auxiliary Verb ( to have) + “been” Base verb + “ing”
He, she, it Has been Walking, sleeping, working, studying …
I, you, we, they Have been Walking, sleeping, working, studying …

Negative form

Like the affirmative form, the negative present perfect continuous is used to denote actions that were not happening in the past, but that changed when another occurred that interrupted the first one.

For this form, the declarative word “not” is used after the auxiliary verb “to have” , which can be simplified as “haven’t” or “hasn’t . To see it in a better way, we will show you a table of how the present perfect continuous is constructed in its negative form: Present perfect continuous sentences

Subject Auxiliary Verb ( to have) + “not” + “been” Base verb + “ing”
He, she, it Has not been / Hasn’t been Walking, sleeping, working, studying …
I, you, we, they Have been / Haven’t been Walking, sleeping, working, studying …

Interrogative form

The interrogative form of the present perfect continuous is made in a different way. The auxiliary verb ( “to have” ) is used at the beginning of the sentence, before the subject, while the past participle of the verb “to be” ( “been” ) is used after it. It ends with a question mark after the base verb. Here is an example:

Auxiliary Verb ( “to have” ) Subject Verb “to be” in past participle ( “been” ) Base verb + “ing” ?
Have you He, she, it Been Walking, sleeping, working, studying…?
Have I, you, we, they Been Walking, sleeping, working, studying…?

In the same way, you can create a present perfect continuous sentence in its negative form as an interrogative phrase. For, we use the auxiliary verb ( “to have” ) in its negative form, using the declarative word “not” or the simplified form of the verb ( “hasn’t” / “haven’t” ). Thus, we will form a negative interrogative phrase of the present perfect continuous as follows:

Auxiliary Verb ( “to have” ) + “not” Subject Verb “to be” in past participle ( “been” ) Base verb + “ing” ?
Has not / Hasn’t He, she, it Been Walking, sleeping, working, studying…?
Have not / Haven’t I, you, we, they Been Walking, sleeping, working, studying…?

UsagesPresent perfect continuous sentences

  1. As has been said, we use the present perfect continuous to refer to an action that occurred in the past and continues to occur during the moment of the conversation, or that ended shortly before the conversation began. To refer to an action that lasted a certain or specific time , we use some temporary prepositions, such as “since” and “for” , to refer to the exact moment when that action happened. For example:
    1. I have been looking at the stars for twenty minutes. 
    2. She Has not Been working at that company since 
    3. Have you been taking that class since last year? 
    4. Haven’t I been dating your friend for two years? 
  2. It is possible to use the present perfect continuous without a specific period of time. For this, we use some adverbs such as “lately” or “recently” to refer to some actions that have been happening for a short time when the conversation started. Let’s look at some examples:
    1. I have been going to that gym recently
    2. He hasn’t been coming to our meeting lately
    3. Have you been listening to that song lately
    4. Hasn’t it been raining a lot recently

Verbs that do not have continuity and mixed verbs

In English grammar, there is a series of verbs that do not have continuity when used in sentences, since they are verbs that cannot be appreciated when a person does them. Therefore, these verbs cannot be used in sentences with the past perfect continuous. Present perfect continuous sentences

Some of these verbs are : ” to have”, “to want”, to need “,” to like “,” to own “, among many others.

The correct way to use these verbs in a sentence is to use them as the present perfect . Let’s look at some examples:

  1. He have been having his house since last year. 
  2. He has had his house since last year. This sentence, using the present perfect, is correct.

On the other hand, there is a small group of verbs that, due to the fact that they can have more than one meaning , some of which are used to give continuity to sentences and can be composed into sentences with the present perfect continuous, as long as the meaning is correct. These verbs are known as mixed verbs.

This small group of verbs is : “to appear”, “to hear”, “to feel”, “to look”, “to see”, among others.

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