Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous

when to use the Present Perfect

  • for a state or action which has started in the past, gone on up to the present and continues past the time of speaking (I have been ill for a week.)
    signal words: for, since, always, lately, recently
  • for a completed action in the past without specifying when but having a result in the present  (I have washed the car. (result: It is now clean)).
  • for recent actions  (We have just missed the bus.)
    signal word: just
  • for an incomplete period in which actions happened repeatedly (Elisa has already rung him four times this morning. He must have turned his phone off.)
    signal words: this morning / afternoon / evening / week etc. / ever / never / always / occasionally / often / several times / It’s / This is the first / second time etc

when to use the Present Perfect Continuous

  • for an action which has started in the past, gone on up to the present and which has just finished or which continues past the time of speaking (I have been swimming. (= my hair is still wet) / I have been waiting for two hours already.)
    signal words: for, since, always, lately, recently (the present perfect continuous can also express this type of action without a time expression)
  • for a seemingly continuous and repeated action without mentioning the number of times it has been done (Elisa has been ringing him since breakfast. He must have turned his phone off.)

NOTE: The continuous occurs only with verbs that indicate duration and describe activities that are deliberate. Verbs which are not normally used in the continuous are

  • verbs of the senses (see, hear, feel, etc.)
  • verbs expressing feelings and emotions (love, hate, fear, hate, etc.)
  • verbs expressing possession (own, possess, etc.)
  • verbs expressing perception, remembrance, preference, knowledge (mean, know, believe, forget, understand, appreciate, etc.)

exercises

Present Perfect (I have gone) and Present Perfect Continuous (I have been going)

  • exercise 1: fill in the correct verb form of the present perfect or present perfect continuous
  • exercise 2: fill in the correct verb form
  • exercise 3: fill in the correct verb form
  • exercise 4: fill in the correct verb form
  • exercise 5: fill in the correct verb form
  • exercise 6: fill in the correct verb form
  • exercise 7: fill in the correct verb form
  • exercise 8: various exercises practising the use of the present perfect or present perfect continuous
  • exercise 9: various exercises practising the use of the present perfect or present perfect continuous

Useful pages

  • exercises for practising the Present Perfect (I have gone)
  • exercises for practising the Present Perfect Continuous (I have been going)