[has/have + been + present participle]
- You have been waiting here for two hours.
- Have you been waiting here for two hours?
- You have not been waiting here for two hours.
USE 1 Duration from the Past Until Now
We use the Present Perfect Continuous to show that something started in the past and has continued up until now. “For five minutes,” “for two weeks,” and “since Tuesday” are all durations which can be used with the Present Perfect Continuous.
- They have been talking for the last hour.
- She has been working at that company for three years.
- What have you been doing for the last 30 minutes?
- James has been teaching at the university since June.
- We have been waiting here for over two hours!
- Why has Nancy not been taking her medicine for the last three days?
USE 2 Recently, Lately
You can also use the Present Perfect Continuous WITHOUT a duration such as “for two weeks.” Without the duration, the tense has a more general meaning of “lately.” We often use the words
“lately” or “recently” to emphasize this meaning.
- Recently, I have been feeling really tired.
- She has been watching too much television lately.
- Have you been exercising lately?
- Mary has been feeling a little depressed.
- Lisa has not been practicing her English.
- What have you been doing?
Remember that the Present Perfect Continuous has the meaning of “lately” or “recently.” If you use the Present Perfect Continuous in a question such as “Have you been feeling alright?”, it can sugges
t that the person looks sick or unhealthy. A question such as “Have you been smoking?” can suggest that you smell the smoke on the person. Using this tense in a question suggests you can see, smell, hear or feel the results of the action. It is possible to insult someone by using this tense incorrectly.
REMEMBER Non-Continuous Verbs/ Mixed Verbs
It is important to remember that Non-Continuous Verbs cannot be used in any con
- Sam has been having his car for two years. Not Correct
- Sam has had his car for two years. Correct
The examples below show the placement for grammar adverbs such as: always, only, never, ever, still, just, etc.
- You have only been waiting here for one hour.
- Have you only been waiting here for one hour?
ACTIVE / PASSIVE
- Recently, John has been doing the work. Active
- Recently, the work has been being done by John. Passive
‘to look after’ means to take care of someone or something.
- When I have to travel on business, my parents usually look after my children.
- I look after the office when my colleagues are away on business.
‘to look ahead’ means to think about and plan the future.
- We have to look ahead and try to estimate our needs for the next few years.
- In this business, it’s very difficult to look ahead and predict what will happen.
‘to look at’ means to read something quickly and not very thoroughly.
- Could you look at my report and tell me if you think it’s OK?
- I looked at your figures and they seem fine to me.
‘to look at’ can also mean to investigate or think carefully about a problem or situation.
- Costs are getting out of control. We need to look at them closely.
- John looked at renting cars but it would be too expensive.
‘to look back’ means to think about something that happened in the past.
- I realise I was very naive when I look back.
- If we look back over the last three years, we can see many times when we were very successful.
‘to look down on’ means to think something or someone is inferior.
- The people who work in Headquarters always look down on the people in the branches.
- Don’t look down on him just because he left school at 16. He has been very successful.
‘to look for’ means to try to find something lost or that you need.
- My assistant is leaving at the end of the month. I’m looking for a new one.
- He has been looking for a job for ages now.
‘to look forward to’ means to feel excited and happy about something that is going to happen.
- I’m seeing him on Tuesday. I’m really looking forward to it.
- We’re looking forward to our English classes.
‘to look in’ means to visit someone for a short time.
- I’ll look in on my way home and we can have a cup of tea.
- Look in on Jenny and check that she is still working.
‘to look into’ means to examine a problem or situation.