Speak About:

Present

Past

Past to Present

Future

Abilities - Responsibilities

Asking Questions

Choosing the Right Phrase

Combining Verbs

Explaining Ideas

Describing Your World

Complex Ideas

Relating Ideas, People, Objects

Speaking about Objects

Wondering about Situations

Happening up to This Moment

Present Perfect Continuous

The present perfect continuous places the emphasis on the duration of a current activity. It is used to express either when an action in progress began, or the length of an action in progress. The present perfect continuous is never used with stative verbs.

Example:

I've been working on the appraisal since six this morning. That's why you have it already.

I have been investigating allegations of abuses in the bank's adjustable-rate mortgage.

We have been working overtime for the past week so your house appraisal is finally complete.

Positive Form:

Subject + have + been + 'ing' form of verb + (object(s)) + since / for + time expression

I have been investigating allegations of abuses in the bank's adjustable-rate mortgage.

Negative Form:

Subject + have + not + been + 'ing' form of verb + (object(s)) + since / for + time expression

The non-taxable income hasn't improved at all over the last fiscal year.

Question Form:

(Question Word) + have + subject + been + 'ing' form of verb?

How long has the telephone company been issuing a combined statement?

Examples of What Caused Something

The present perfect continuous is often used to express the action that caused a present result.

Example:

I've been dealing in stock for over thirty years. That's why I'm such a success today.

I've been working on the appraisal since six this morning. That's why you have it already.

Present Perfect Contrasted with Present Perfect Continuous

The present perfect and present perfect continuous are both used to express the duration of an activity that begins in the past and continues into the present. Either form is used with general activities, although the use of the present perfect continuous can indicate that an activity is about to change. The present perfect continuous describes the duration of a current activity and tends to be used with more specific action verbs.

Example of Present Perfect:

I haven't had a money market account at your bank for a long time.

We have greatly diversified your portfolio.

Example of Present Perfect Continuous:

I have been investigating allegations of abuses in the bank's adjustable-rate mortgage.

We've been spending the last several months building up adequate stock.

When emphasizing the duration of the current action, use the present perfect continuous.

Example:

Real estate has been plunging steadily for the last year.

We've been discussing who is to be held responsible for this for an hour.

The present perfect continuous conveys the length of an activity, whereas the present perfect can also be used to relate the quantity, or amount finished up to the present moment in time.

Example:

I've got a clear understanding of factors affecting our gross margin.

I've prepared three documents to transfer power of attorney this week.