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1- Temporary actions

2- How time is spent

3- Unfinished actions



Present Perfect Continuous
Level: Level: Hard

Present Perfect Continuous

In this article we will see the difference between the simple present perfect and the present perfect continuous. If you want to learn about the present perfect in general, click here.



We use the continuous form to indicate that the action we are talking about is temporary (or we consider it temporary)

In this example, my permanent situation is living with my parents, and living in London is for me just a temporary situation, when I finish I will come back to my parents, so I say:   This month I've been living in Oxford because I'm doing a course

The "temporary" situation may last days or years, the duration is not important, the important thing is that we consider it temporary.

I haven’t been working very well recently   (temporary, I think this problem will pass)

I’ve worked as a teacher for 4 years   (I consider my job permanent)
I’ve been working as a teacher for 4 years, but I’m an artist   (I consider my job temporary, I want to change)


We also use the continuous form to express how we have spent our time, or what is happening during that time (a period of time that must extend up to the present, of course)

    How long have you been learning English?
    I’ve been watching television since 2 o’clock
    Have you been playing golf today?
    She’s been working all day


We can also use the continuous form to indicate that an action is not finished yet, and the simple form to express that it is finished.

This is connected with the idea of  “temporary”. If she hasn’t finished, then the result is temporary because she must continue till she finishes.

1- She has been painting the ceiling         //         2- She has painted the ceiling

1- in this case we are interested in the action. It doesn’t matter if  something has been finished or not. In the example, the action has not been finished.

2- in this case, the important thing is that something has been finished. We are interested in the result of the action, not in the action itself.

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