• Have You Been Learning English With LOI? 30 Exciting Minutes of Present Perfect Continuous

    Have you been improving your English with LOI lately?  Maybe you’ve been working on the fun New Year’s 10 Day Challenge.  Or, you might have just completed this great tense review, and you’re ready to learn more.  Whatever your motivation, we’re here today to learn the present perfect continuous tense.  First we’ll learn when and why we use this tense.  Then, you’ll get a chance to practice with some fun exercises.  We always love to hear from you, so don’t forget to write your answers in the comments section, and we’ll respond!


    First, we’ll take a look at the structures of present perfect continuous.  After you read each example, say a sentence of your own.



    James has been studying.



    Has James been studying?



    James has not been studying.

    Next, let’s learn why we use present perfect continuous.

    Use #1: Duration: something that started in the past and has continued until now

    (Subject)+have/has+been+(verb)ing+for+(amount of time).

    Q: How long has he been running?

    A: He has been running for an hour.

    (Subject)+have/has+been+(verb)ing+since (date or time).

    Q: How long have you been working there?

    A: I have been been working there since last Monday.

    Use #2: General: these days, recently, lately

    (Subject)+have/has+been+(verb)ing+(these days/recently/lately).

    Q: I haven’t seen you in a while!  What have you been doing lately?

    A: I’ve been traveling a lot these days.


    • When we use ‘lately/recently/these days,’ we’re speaking more generally than when we give the duration
    • We often use contractions when speaking
      • I have= I’ve, you have=you’ve, we have=we’ve, they have=they’ve
      • It has=it’s, she has=she’s, he has=he’s
    • Because this tense refers to a time until now, it suggests we can sense (hear, see, smell, taste, feel) the result of the action.
      • Has she been feeling alright?  (The subject looks sick).
      • Have you been drinking?  (The subject smells like alcohol).
      • Have you been working out a lot lately? (The subject looks fitter).
    • We cannot use non-continuous verbs in any continuous tenses.
      • I have been having my computer for 5 years.
      • I have been using my computer for 5 years.


    Now, let’s listen to examples of this tense in some popular songs.  This video gets a little repetitive, so feel free to stop it around 2:00.


    Your Turn!

    Part I.  Fill in the blanks.  Use the subject and/or verb in parenthesis.

    1. He ___ ____ _______(to wait) at her house for 15 minutes.
    2. How long ____ ___ ____ _______(you, to wash) the dishes?
    3. She’s lost a lot of weight.  ___ ___ ____ _______ ___(she, to work out) lately?
    4. I ____ ____ ________(to watch) the series, The Night Of , a lot these days.
    5.  The neighbors ____ ____ ________(to shout) for an hour.


    Now, check out these examples of present perfect continuous in some classic films:


    Part II. Create a present perfect continuous sentence, negative sentence, or question for each picture.

    1.  Examples: It has been snowing for 3 hours.  How long has it been snowing?  We have not been driving because of the snow.





    Part III.  Continuous and non-continuous verbs.

    Decide whether the sentence is correct or incorrect.  If the sentence is incorrect, replace it with a correct example.  Remember, we CANNOT use non-continuous verbs in the present perfect continuous tense.

    1. Have  you been preferring apples or oranges lately?
      1. Example: this is incorrect because ‘to prefer’ is non-continuous.  A correct sentence would be: Have you been eating apples or oranges lately?
    2. I have not been listening to much music these days.
    3. They have been hating homework since last week.
    4. We have been dating for 3 months.
    5. She has been crying for 30 minutes.


    Part IV.  Answer the questions about yourself.

    1. How long have you been studying English with LOI?
    2. What have you been doing recently?
    3. What kind of music have you been listening to these days?
    4. Have you been exercising much this year?
    5. Have you been watching a good TV series lately?

    Part V.  Schedule a class with LOI to practice all you’ve been learning in a conversation with a friendly native speaker!