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FCE practice

Learn about the Present Perfect Continuous


Present Perfect = until now

present perfect picture

We can use the present perfect when something started in the past and is still true now.

I've loved rats since I was a child.
- present perfect simple

I 've been playing with this rat for 1 hour.
- present perfect continuous

We usually use it with for, since and how long.

  • I've lived here for three months / for 5 years
  • I've lived here since 2001 / since Tuesday
  • How long have you lived here?

Present Perfect Simple or Continuous?

There's not much difference between present perfect simple and continuous for this meaning, but we always use present perfect simple with state verbs (e.g. like, have, believe), and usually use present perfect continuous with action verbs (e.g. go, eat, play).

He's always believed in Santa.
(present perfect simple - a state)

He's been sleeping for hours.
(present perfect continuous - an action)

Present perfect continuous = have/has + been + verb-ing

 I, you, we, theyhe, she, it
+You've been waiting.He's been waiting.
-You haven't been waiting.He hasn't been waiting.
?Have you been waiting?Has he been waiting?

Present Perfect or Past Simple?

Look at these two examples:

I've been married for 2 years.

I was married for 2 years.

The first is present perfect because it is two years including the present (I am married now). The second is past simple because the two years finished in the past (I am not married now).

For or Since?

We use "for" with the length of time (e.g. 2 years, 3 months, 1 minute). We use "since" with the starting point (e.g. Tuesday, 2009, I was 5).

  • I've been working here for six weeks.
  • I've been working here since I left university.

(The teacher has been learning computing for 3 months. It's quite difficult! )

Present perfect practice

Next lesson: present perfect (3)