Present Perfect Progressive Tense

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Present Perfect Progressive Tense? (with Examples)

The present perfect progressive tense has two uses. It is used for:
  • A continuous activity that began in the past and continues into the present. For example:
    • Those workmen have been fixing the roads.
  • A continuous activity that began in past but has now finished (usually very recently). For example:
    • John has been baking cakes.
You have to rely on context to tell you whether the activity is still ongoing in the present or has finished. For example, the workmen might still be working, and John's finished cakes might be on the table.

Of course, it is unusual for an activity that started in the past and finished in the past to be categorized as present tense, but this is because it normally has a relevance to the present (e.g., John's cakes are now available).

More Examples of the Present Perfect Progressive Tense

Here are some more examples of the present perfect progressive tense:
  • Julie has been relying on a pay rise to pay her student loan.
  • (Julie might still be relying on a pay rise, or she might have received the pay rise. You can't tell from this sentence. However, this information is just setting the scene for some more information about Julie's present situation.)
  • Mr and Mrs Cox have been taking the wrong pills for years.
  • (The Coxes might still be taking the wrong pills or not. You can't tell from this sentence. However, this information is just setting the scene for some more information about the Coxes' present situation.)

Forming the Present Perfect Progressive Tense

The present perfect progressive tense is formed:
[subject]
+
"has been" or "have been"
+
[present participle]
  • I have been working since yesterday evening.
  • She has been chewing for two minutes.

Forming the Present Present Participle

In the examples above, the words "working" and "chewing" (i.e., the [verb] + "ing" part of the construction) are known as present participles. A present participle is formed like this:

Add "ing" to most verbs:
  • play > playing
  • shout > shouting

For verbs that end "e," remove the "e" and add "ing":
  • prepare > preparing
  • ride > riding

For verbs that end "ie," change the "ie" to "y" and add "ing":
  • lie > lying
  • untie > untying

For verbs whose last syllable is written [consonant-vowel-consonant] and is stressed, double the final consonant and add "ing":
  • run > running
  • forget > forgetting

The Negative Version

If you need the negative version, you can use the following construction:
[subject]
+
"has not been" or "have not been"
+
[present participle]
  • Julie has not been relying on a pay rise to pay her student loan.
  • Mr and Mrs Cox have not been taking the wrong pills for years.

The Question Version

If you need to ask a question, you can use the following word order for a yes/no question:
"has" or "have"
+
[subject]
+
"been"
+
[present participle]
  • Has Julie been relying on a pay rise to pay her student loan?
  • Have Mr and Mrs Cox been taking the wrong pills for years?
You can use the following word order for a question-word question:
[question word]
+
"has" or "have"
+
[subject]
+
"been"
+
[present participle]
  • Why has Julie been relying on a pay rise to pay her student loan?
  • Where have Mr and Mrs Cox been taking the wrong pills?

Infographic for the Present Perfect Progressive Tense

present perfect progressive tense
The tables below show all 12 tenses so you can see the present perfect progressive tense among the other tenses. (You can change the verb by clicking one of the green buttons.)

Top 10 Regular Verbs

Top 10 Irregular Verbs

All 4 Past Tenses

PersonSimple PastPast Progressive TensePast Perfect TensePast Perfect Progressive Tense
  • I
  • you
  • he/she/it
  • we
  • you
  • they
  • past tense
  • past tense
  • past tense
  • past tense
  • past tense
  • past tense
The simple past tense is for a completed activity that happened in the past.
  • was present participle
  • were present participle
  • was present participle
  • were present participle
  • were present participle
  • were present participle
The past progressive tense is for an ongoing activity in the past. Often, it is used to set the scene for another action.
  • had past participle
  • had past participle
  • had past participle
  • had past participle
  • had past participle
  • had past participle
The past perfect tense is for emphasizing that an action was completed before another took place.
  • had been present participle
  • had been present participle
  • had been present participle
  • had been present participle
  • had been present participle
  • had been present participle
The past perfect progressive tense is for showing that an ongoing action in the past has ended.

All 4 Present Tenses

PersonSimple PresentPresent Progressive TensePresent Perfect TensePresent Perfect Progressive Tense
  • I
  • you
  • he/she/it
  • we
  • you
  • they
  • base form
  • base form
  • 3rd pers sing present
  • base form
  • base form
  • base form
The simple present tense is mostly for a fact or a habit.
  • am present participle
  • are present participle
  • is present participle
  • are present participle
  • are present participle
  • are present participle
The present progressive tense is for an ongoing action in the present.
  • have past participle
  • have past participle
  • has past participle
  • have past participle
  • have past participle
  • have past participle
The present perfect tense is for an action that began in the past. (Often, the action continues into the present.)
  • have been present participle
  • have been present participle
  • has been present participle
  • have been present participle
  • have been present participle
  • have been present participle
The present perfect progressive tense is for a continuous activity that began in the past and continues into the present (or finished very recently).

All 4 Future Tenses

PersonSimple FutureFuture Progressive TenseFuture Perfect TenseFuture Perfect Progressive Tense
  • I
  • you
  • he/she/it
  • we
  • you
  • they
  • will base form
  • will base form
  • will base form
  • will base form
  • will base form
  • will base form
The simple future tense is for an action that will occur in the future.
  • will be present participle
  • will be present participle
  • will be present participle
  • will be present participle
  • will be present participle
  • will be present participle
The future progressive tense is for an ongoing action that will occur in the future.
  • will have past participle
  • will have past participle
  • will have past participle
  • will have past participle
  • will have past participle
  • will have past participle
The future perfect tense is for an action that will have been completed at some point in the future.
  • will have been present participle
  • will have been present participle
  • will have been present participle
  • will have been present participle
  • will have been present participle
  • will have been present participle
The future perfect progressive tense is for an ongoing action that will be completed at some specified time in the future.

The Other Present Tenses

The present perfect progressive tense is one of four present tenses. This table shows all four of the present tenses:
The 4 Present Tenses Example
simple present tense I go
present progressive tense I am going
present perfect tense I have gone
present perfect progressive tense I have been going

Help Us Improve Grammar Monster

  • Do you disagree with something on this page?
  • Did you spot a typo?

Find Us Quicker!

  • When using a search engine (e.g., Google, Bing), you will find Grammar Monster quicker if you add #gm to your search term.
Next lesson >

See Also

Take a test on the present perfect progressive tense Tenses See all the tenses What is a verb phrase?

Page URL