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

by Craig Shrives

Present Perfect Progressive Tense

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).

A Video Summary

Here is a short video summarizing the present perfect progressive tense:

Infographic for the Present Perfect Progressive Tense

Here is an infographic explaining the present perfect progressive tense:

present perfect progressive tense

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?

Verb Tense Widget

Use this widget to learn about the different tenses. How do you use this widget? Well, if there's a button, a drop-down menu, or a , you can click it!

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

Slider Showing All the Tenses

The following slider shows all 12 tenses. The present perfect progressive tense is highlighted with a yellow background.
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

Take a test on the present perfect progressive tense Tenses Simple past tense Past progressive tense Past perfect tense Past perfect progressive tense Simple present tense Present progressive tense Present perfect tense Simple future tense Future progressive tense Future perfect tense Future perfect progressive tense