An Online Catalogue of English Grammar Exercises

Present Perfect Continuous/Progressive

There are a few verbs in frequent use in this tense e.g. work, play, live, stay, travel, talk, listen to, wait for, look for, shop, watch, feel, swim (and other activities, walk, sail, sit) - these are not 'state' verbs. (The passive is rare, thank goodness!)

Contrast: Work out the differences in aspect between these two tenses - look at the difference in meaning.

Present Perfect Simple
e.g. I've lived in Canada.

This tense is used for talking about an experience you've had at a some point in your life. It's part of you. It's a memory.

Present Perfect Continuous or Progressive
e.g. I've been living in Canada and I'm on my way back there now.

This tense is used for talking about an activity taking place over a period of time (which may be short or long). This activity may continue up to now, it may be very recent, it may continue.


Practice Exercise: Choose the Present Perfect or Present Perfect Continuous.
This is difficult, I'm afraid. Sorry!
1. They……….(go, went, have been, have gone) to Rome now.
2. The students …………….(look for) accommodation. They don't have anything yet.
3. The tourists……….(stay/live) at the Hilton. They leave tomorrow.
4. The weather is lovely. The children……….(go swimming) every day.
5. The tour group………..(travel) around the world. They're in China now.
6. I……….(work) in this school for 15 years. I know everyone.

1. they have gone to Rome - they're there now.
2. the students have been looking for accommodation
3. the tourists have been staying at the Hilton
4. have been going swimming every day
5. the tour group has been travelling around the world
6. I've been working in this school.

See The A - Z of English Grammar & Usage for the rules.

click here to go back

© 1996 - 2009