Present Perfect Continuous 3

Part 3

More difficult situations

Amounts and time/durations

Usually, the present perfect simple is used when the subject is an amount.  It is a result.

He has made five films.

Have you caught any fish?

When the subject is a duration, usually the continuous is used.

He has been making films since December

She has been working since five am.

Look at the following examples

I’ve been catching 5 fish

I’ve caught five fish Correct

I’ve been inviting 5 people.

Inviting doesn’t take a long time. However:

I’ve been inviting him for years. He never comes.

The action continues here.

I’ve invited five people. Correct

I’ve saved a lot of money. Correct

I’ve been saving for sixteen months. Correct

Question form

O: How many books have you written

X: How many books have you been writing?

O: How long have you been writing books?

X: How long have you written books?



How Many+ Simple

How long + Continuous



The continuous form is not used with the verb “to have” except when talking about sessions.

I’ve been having guitar lessons with your husband…

Without the use of for or since, it is usually understood that the action has stopped… but it can express that the sessions continue.  Remember there is a minor focus on a result on the present…

I’ve been having meetings / appointments / sessions / talks / discussions with your wife…

When to argue the use this tense

When something has ended and cannot be changed or arguably cannot have an impact on the present, we use past simple not present perfect.

For example.

The boss founded this company.

Isn’t there a link to the present? It depends on who is talking.

Albert Einstein developed the theory of relativity.

It’s not important to scientists?

Usually for these “facts”, they finished a long time ago, they cannot change, they usually don’t have an impact on the present for the average person.

O: I grew up in this country!

X: I have grown up in this country!

Balanced sentences

I am tired.

Which sentence would fit next?

I have worked hard all day


I have been working hard all day

I am tired = result. So, it’s not necessary to repeat it. So we complement the sentence with the image / action.

I am tired, I have been working hard all day.

I am tired, I have worked hard all day = still correct but too much focus!



Now try the test!