Learning English

Inspiring language learning since 1943

English Change language

Session 2

Which tense is this: How long have you been learning English? It's the present perfect continuous - and that's what we're looking at in this session.

Sessions in this unit

Session 2 score

0 / 10

  • 0 / 4
    Activity 1
  • 0 / 6
    Activity 2
  • 0 / 0
    Activity 3

Activity 1

Long time no see!

Feeling tense?

In this activity we're looking at the present perfect continuous tense. It's the one we use to talk about:

1) Activities that started in the past and are continuing now

  • We've been learning Spanish this year.

2) An activity which has recently finished

  • Have you been smoking? I can smell smoke!

Read the text and complete the activity

To do

We'll explore the form further down this page. But instead of us just telling you the form, why don't you have a go at making it first?

In the activity, there are six sentences which you have to put into the correct order. All the sentences are about a reunion where classmates haven't seen each other for a long time. They're all in the present perfect continuous.

Make the present perfect continuous

4 Questions

Form sentences in the present perfect continuous tense

Congratulations you completed the Quiz
Excellent! Great job! Bad luck! You scored:
x / y

Did you get them all right? Now, let's have a look at the form.


The present perfect continuous is made with:

Subject + have/has/haven't/hasn't + been + present participle of main verb


  • Jack's working very hard for his exams. He's been revising all day.
  • I've been working at the café for two weeks.
  • You've been watching far too much telly for too long. Why don't you take up a new sport?


  • I haven't been drinking coffee these last few days and my head is much clearer.
  • Doctor, I've not been feeling good all the morning.


Present perfect continuous questions are made with:

Have/has not + subject + been + present participle

  • Have you been eating all the biscuits? There are none left!
  • What have you been doing? You look exhausted!


Well done. You've practised the form, but what's harder than that is knowing exactly when to use this tense. In the next activity, you'll look at situations and decide whether or not the present perfect continuous is appropriate.

Session Grammar

  • Present perfect continuous tense

    Meaning and use

    To talk about an activity that started in the past and is continuing now or has recently finished.

    • I’ve been reading that new book you lent me…

    Form - positive and negative

    subject + have/has/haven’t/hasn’t + been + present participle of main verb

    • He’s been revising all day
    • I haven’t been drinking coffee recently

    Form - question

    • Have you been eating biscuits?

Session Vocabulary