Both tenses have a continuous form. These continuous tenses are formed with the verb be and the –ing form of the verb:

We use continuous aspect:

  • for something happening before and after a given time.

He’s getting on the train. [before and after the moment of speaking]
It was quarter past ten. We were watching the news on television.

  • for something continuing before and after another action:

Mother will be cooking the dinner when we get home.
We were waiting for the bus when it started to rain.

  • for something continuing for some time:

Everybody will be waiting for us.
They had been working hard all day.

  • for something happening again and again:

They’ve been doing that every day this week.
The children were always shouting.
He will be practising the piano every night.

  • for something temporary:

We are renting an apartment until our house is ready..
He was working in a garage during the vacation.

  • for something new:

We have moved from Birmingham. We’re living in Manchester now.
He had left university and was working in his father’s business.

  • to describe something changing or developing:

Everything has been getting more difficult.
He was growing more bad-tempered every day. 

Exercise

Comments

Hello Ice,

You can use many forms, depending on the meaning you wish to convey. For example, all of the following are possible:

I'm going to Portugal for my next holiday.

I'm going to go to Portugal for my next holiday.

I'll be going to Portugal for my next holiday.

I'll go to Portugal for my next holiday.

Which of these is most appropriate depends on the context. You can see how these forms are used on our page on future forms.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir
I went through your getting started page and grammar section carefully but still I am not very sure of present perfect tenses. Would you help me to clear my doubts. For e.g.
It has rained. The road is wet. This means it is not rainning now. It has been rainning for two hours. It has rained for two hours.Both these mean it is raining now or it is not raining now.
Are all these correct or only some.
Please clarify.
Regards
Andrew international

Hello andrew international,

We have a page in our Quick Grammar that covers just this topic. The video on Flathunting Scene 2 Language Focus also discusses the present perfect general. Please take a look at those resources and then if it's still unclear, you're welcome to ask us again on one of those pages.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir,
I have a doubt in perfect tense. I want to know the difference between " I have been to german" and "I have gone to german".
Usually we use ing form for perfect continuos but in some books or newspaper they are using ed form in perfect continuos, for eg "I have been fascinated", "gandhiji had been assassinated". Why we are using ed form in perfect continuos? What's the reason?

Hello Nithya,

I think there are a few different issues at play here. First of all, 'She has been to Germany' and 'She has gone to Germany' are both present perfect simple (not continuous) forms. Using 'been' implies that she went to Germany and has already returned; using 'gone' implies that she may not yet have returned. 

The other forms you mention are not continuous forms, either. In the case of 'fascinated', there it is an adjective, whereas in the phrase about Gandhi-ji, it is the past participle (third form) that is part of a passive verb. Follow the links I've added to see more about that grammar, and if you'd like to understand the difference between simple and continuous forms, our Present Perfect Simple and Present Perfect Continuous page explains the difference between those two forms.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir :)

I just wanna ask which sentence is correct

When I was in secondary school , I was working in a charity organization
Or
When I was in secondary school, I had been working in charity organization

I just want you to clarify this point, because now I think both past continuous and past perfect continuous give the same meaning

Thanks in advance :)

Hello Moka 18,

Both sentences are possible, but which is appropriate will depend upon the context and the speaker's intention. The second sentence would require some other point of reference, such as how long the person had been working.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Mr. Kirk
i have a doubt please clear it.
i have doing this since last 20 minutes.
i have been doing this last for 20 minutes.

which one is correct.

Hello Afia,

The second one, with a slight change, is the correct one: 'I have been doing this for the last 20 minutes'. 'for' is followed by a period of time ('the last 20 minutes'). You might find our how long page useful.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, I'd like to know if it is possible to say in a phone conversation: Bye, my family is arraving in this moment, I will speak you soon!
I mean, I'd like to know if it is right "my family's arriving", thx for your help.

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