Verb tenses: present perfect continuous


I have been running marathons since I was 15 years old. - Eu tenho corrido maratonas desde os 15 anos de idade.

We use the present perfect continuous when an action or more started in the past but continues into the present or is still relevant. The present perfect continuous gives emphasis to continuity:

  • We have been working out lately.
  • Have you been seeing someone?

The present perfect continuous is not normally used with verbs like 'know', 'believe', 'understand', 'agree', etc. These verbs are called stative verbs.

  • I have known him for years. I have been knowing him for years.

Present perfect or present perfect continuous? The present perfect simple (I've done) focuses on the action or its completion. The present perfect continuous (I've been doing) focuses on the action's continuity:

  • I've made a sculpture. (The action is completed. I am not making it anymore)
  • I've been making a sculpture. (The action is not completed. I am still making it)

In some cases, both can be used:

  • We have lived here since 2013. (the emphasis is on the action of living)
  • We have been living here since 2013. (the emphasis is on the continuity of the action)
Further learning
Description Author Language
Summary of the two main situations when we use the present perfect continuous and examples. BBC Learning
4 tips on how to decide between present perfect and present perfect continuous Anglo-Link


This grammar section includes materials sourced from the following: Linguapress,