Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous

Learn the difference between the Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous Tense in English with examples and useful grammar rules.

Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous

Difference in Form

  • Present Perfect Simple Tense:

Formed by adding “have/has” to the past participle

S + have/has + V3

  • Present Perfect Continuous Tense:

Formed by adding “have/has been” to the present participle

S + have/has + been + V-ing

Differences in Usage

  • The present perfect simple tense is used with finished actions, while the present perfect continuous tense is used with unfinished actions.

Examples:

The kids have played for 2 hours. (present perfect simple)

The kids have been playing since morning. (present perfect continuous)

  • The present perfect simple tense indicates permanent actions; the present perfect continuous tense describes temporary actions.

Examples:

I have taught English for 12 years.  (present perfect simple)

I have been teaching this class for one hour. (present perfect continuous)

  • The present perfect simple tense emphasizes on the result of the action; In contrast, the present perfect continuous tense emphasizes on the duration of the action.

Examples:

He has repaired the car. (present perfect simple)

He has been repairing the car for 2 hours. (present perfect continuous)

  • The present perfect simple tense indicates “How much/How many have been completed“, while the present perfect continuous tense indicates “How long something has been happening“.

Examples:

It has taken six years to write this book. (present perfect simple)

He has been studying English for two months(present perfect continuous)

Note

Always use the present perfect simple (not continuous) with the verbs believe, know, understand, like/dislike, belong, own:

Examples:

We’ve known each other since we were kids.

I’ve never understood math very well.

He’s always liked sports.

Differences between Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous | Picture

Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous

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