Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. My name is Alisha. In this lesson, I'm going to talk about the difference between the present perfect tense and the present perfect continuous tense. Many people ask about the difference between these two. So, I'm going to talk about how to make these tenses, and sometimes when you might want to use them. So, let's get started.
First of all, I want to begin with sort of a visual of these two grammar points. I'm going to start with the present perfect tense here though. So, you might have seen another video on this channel about the present perfect tense; how to use it, how to make it, but I'm going to review quickly here the present perfect tense. I'm going to talk about two uses of the present perfect tense. They are, first, that we use the present perfect tense to express life experience at a nonspecific time in the past. So, this means something that we did in the past, meaning, before the present time here on a timeline. But the exact point in time is not important. So, we use this for, perhaps, our job experience or our travel experience, for example, with expressions like, "I have been to France" or "I have worked at XYZ company," for example. The specific time is not important. So, we can use the present perfect tense to describe those things.
The second point I want to talk about with the present perfect tense is how we use it to refer to an action that started in the past and continues to the present, or the effects of that action started in the past and continue to the present rather. On our timeline, it sort of looks a little bit like this. Some actions started in the past and the action has continued to the present, in other words. So, these are the two points I want to talk about with the present perfect tense.
Let's take a look then to review how to make the present perfect tense. When you're making a statement with the present perfect tense, you might use a pattern like this. So, if your subject is "I, we, you, or they," we'll use that, plus have, plus the past participle form of a verb. You might use "for" or "since," depending on the point that you're using here, and you'll finish the sentence with the extra information. If your subject, however, is "he" or "she" or "it," we'll use "has" instead of "have," and then follow it with the past participle form of the verb, perhaps, "for" or "since," depending on your sentence and your information.
Some examples of this are "I have been to Italy." So "have" follows this pattern, and "been" is the past participle form of the verb "be." "I have been to Italy." In this one, "He has studied English for six months." So here, I'm using 0.1. Here, I'm using 0.2 in this bullet-pointed list. So, this is a general life experience, "I have been to Italy." Second, this is an action that started in the past and that continues to the present. "He has studied English for six months." So this is an action that's probably still in progress.
Okay. Let's look at then some questions. I want to review how to make questions with this tense. So, for simple "yes" and "no" questions, we can use patterns like this. "Has," if your subject is he or she or it, we'll begin with "has." If your subject is "I, we, you, or they," we'll begin with "have." Let's start with this. Has he, she, or it, plus the past participle form of the verb, plus again this for or since, perhaps, and then your extra information at the end of the sentence. With "have," it's the same. So, "have, I, we, you, or they, plus past participle verb, and maybe for or since.
A couple of examples of this, "Has she finished her homework?" Here, "has" and my subject is she, "Has she finished" is the past participle form of the verb "finish." "Has she finished her homework, and have they cleaned up the house?" So these are questions asking. Has this action been completed? So before now, in other words, these two actions, in this case, her homework and house cleaning, are they finished yes or no? But the time at which the action was finished is not so important in these questions. The speaker, the person asking the question only wants to know is it finished, is it not finished. That's it.
The specific time is not important. That's why the present perfect tense is being used to ask the question. Let's look at a different question pattern. This is when you want to get information. You're using a question word like "who, which, what, how," and so on. So, we begin with our question word, and then we follow the same pattern we saw up here. For example, we could use question word plus "has/he," and past participle verb form, plus "for" or "since," perhaps, and our extra information, or question word plus "have" and/or I, we, you, they, past participle verb and "for" or "since."
One great example of this is where have you been? Where have you been? So again, the speaker is asking, in the period of time before the present, where was the listener? Where have you been in this period of time? This is a very common question. So, we use these types of questions just to ask about things that happened or maybe that continued to happen before the present, but maybe not at a specific point in time. Also, please keep in mind, we use "for" and "since" commonly with this point right here, the continuing action point. Remember, we use "for" before a length of time, like for three years, for five hours. And we use "since" to refer to a specific point in time.
Okay. So, with that in mind, let's take a look then at the present perfect continuous tense. So, present perfect continuous tense, we use this for actions that started in the past and continued to the present. Yes, so just like this one that we talked about here. But this point, it emphasizes a continuing action. So, we use this for something that we're putting our effort into now, we're putting our focus into right now, or for an interrupted action, for example. So, we'll introduce some examples here in just a moment.
To make the present perfect continuous, the pattern is quite similar to the present perfect tense. We have the same change with the subject. Depending on the subject, we'll use "I, we, you, they, plus have." Then we'll use "been," but then we'll follow it instead of with the past participle form of the verb, we'll use the progressive or the continuous form of the verb, the "-ing" form of the verb. And here, we can use "for" or "since," and the ending information. Same thing with he, she, and it subjects, the only difference is we'll use "has" instead of "have" here. And then we'll follow it with "been," progressive form of the verb, and "for" or "since," depending on your statement.
Let's take a look, a couple of examples. Here, "I've been teaching this lesson for five minutes maybe." So here, I'm saying this lesson is in progress, this lesson is continuing, and I'm using "for" to show the length of time. I'm making a guess there but that's roughly, or that's about how long this lesson has been continuing for, I imagine. So, I used the progressive in the past perfect tense to show that. So, it's an action that started in the past, and it continues to now, and right now, it's the focus of my attention. Right now, I'm focusing everything on teaching this lesson. So, I want to emphasize that. Therefore, I used the progressive tense here in the past perfect.
Let's look at another one. "He's been studying all morning." This sentence sounds like the "he" in the sentence is maybe still studying. So, this is something he's put his effort into and his focus into all morning long. So, when we want to really emphasize someone's focus or someone's effort, we can use the present perfect continuous tense. Also, you might notice I've used this expression, "all morning," at the end of this sentence. When you're using the progressive or the continuous version of the past perfect, you can end your sentence with like "all morning or all night, all afternoon, lately or recently," to talk about the period of time that you've been focusing, or the period of time that you want to emphasize that action was continuing. We'll see another example later.
Okay. Let's look at though some questions using the present perfect continuous. So, just as we saw with the present perfect tense, we'll begin with "have" or "has" for some simple yes or no questions. And then depending on the subject, we'll change this initial word "have" or "has." And then again, we'll use "been," plus the progressive form of the verb, and perhaps, "for" or "since" before our concluding information. So, some examples. First, "Has he been sleeping all day?" So here, I've used "has" because my subject is "he." I've used "been" and the progressive form of sleeping. So, "sleep" becomes "sleeping." "Has he been sleeping all day?" Meaning, in this period of time, has he been sleeping continuously? This is the question. Has he been sleeping all day? So probably, he, the person in this sentence, is still sleeping. Has he been sleeping all day?
Let's look at one more example of this kind of question pattern then. So, another one would be "Have they been working on the project?" So here, I've used "have" because I'm using the word "they" here. So, a group of people. And again, I'm using "been" and "working on the project." "Have they been working on the project?" Meaning, from some point in time in the past, have they, maybe a team or a group of people, continuously. So, nonstop. "Have they been working?" So this question emphasizes their continued progress, their continued work on the project.
Okay. Let's finish up with a different kind of question pattern. So, again, when you use a question word like "who, which, what, or how," for example, we can use "has" or "have" again here, depending on the subject of the sentence. So, I think that this part is the same as the question pattern we just talked about. So, let's just take a look at the example sentences here. First one, "How have you been exercising lately?" So this "how," by the way, means in what way have you been exercising lately? So, in this case, the speaker probably knows that the listener has been exercising lately, and the speaker wants to know how, meaning in what way. So, how have you been exercising lately? Meaning, in the past up until now in this period, continuously, what has been your method of exercise or what's the way you've been exercising? This is what the speaker is asking.
In the last one, "Where has he been keeping his files?" So here, my question word is "Where has he been," again, and "keeping" in this case. "Keeping" is in the progressive or the continuous tense. "Where has he been keeping his files?" So in this sentence, for example, maybe someone is searching for some files or some data. Maybe a colleague is absent, for example, and the speaker wants to know where has he been keeping. So, from the past until now, where has he been keeping his files? So when we want to emphasize something that started in the past, continues to the present, or there's something we're really focusing our effort or our energy on, we can use the present perfect continuous tense to do that.
If you want to emphasize maybe the completion of an action, something that has finished, we can use the present perfect tense like, "He has studied English for six months and he has been studying English for six months. Yes, they communicate the same thing, but using "he has studied English for six months" doesn't sound like so much effort continues to be put into the study. If you want to really emphasize your effort, you should use the progressive form. "He has been studying English for six months" sounds like it's continuing. It sounds like there's more focus on that activity. So, try to keep this slight difference in mind. And if you really want to emphasize your effort and your focus, try using the continuous form of the present perfect tense instead of just the present perfect.
I hope that this was helpful for you. If you have any questions or comments, or if you'd like to try to make an example sentence, please feel free to do so in the comment section below this video. Thank you very much for watching this lesson and I will see you again soon. Bye-bye!

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Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Thursday at 06:03 PM
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Hello Juliana,


Thanks for the comment!


We have a great team of teachers here at EnglishClass101.com and we are happy to help you with your learning needs.


Feel free to ask us any questions that come up.


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Juliana Corrรชa Felix da Silva
Thursday at 09:08 AM
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Thanks! ๐Ÿ˜œ

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Thursday at 09:07 PM
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Hello Altho,


Thanks for taking the time to write to us.


Alisha used the contraction "he's" which can be short for 'he has' or 'he is' - in this case 'he has.' We use contractions in speech, informal writing and where you need to save space on text (e.g. in advertisements).


I hope this is helpful to you. ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ‘


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ร‰va

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Altho
Wednesday at 08:21 AM
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hello ! in this lesson why Alisha use he's been studying all morning, instead of he has been studying all morning ?

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Sunday at 06:44 PM
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Hello Sabri,


Wonderful to hear!


Please feel free to shoot through any questions you have throughout your studies.


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Sabri
Tuesday at 06:21 AM
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I have been learning English for six months.

I have just washed my face.

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Sunday at 08:12 PM
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Hello Olga,


Thank you for your comment and question. ๐Ÿ˜„


The difference between "I've lived here for 3 months" vs "I've been living here for 3 months' is that "..been living here..." means you have been and will continue to be into the future. It is present perfect tense. "...I've lived here..." is present perfect. There isn't a lot of difference in the meaning of these. The first statement suggests the person has the intention of staying there longer.


I hope this is helpful to you.


Please let us know if you have any more questions.


Kindly,

Eva

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Olga Kiseleva
Monday at 08:43 AM
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Hi Alisha,


Great lesson! It does a lot more sense to me now.


I'm just wondering what would be the difference between 'I've lived here for 3 months" vs "I've been living here for 3 months'? Say, would "I've been living" emphasize that I'm still living here and planning to stay in this place (country, apartment), while "I've lived" is more uncertain about your plans? Thus, if I'm gonna move out, I'd rather use "I've lived"?


Thanks!


Olga

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Sunday at 05:30 PM
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Hi Mukti,


You're welcome. ๐Ÿ˜‡

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Mukti Prakash Datta
Sunday at 06:31 AM
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Thanks๐Ÿ‘