The present perfect is formed from the present tense of the verb have and the past participle of a verb:

The present perfect continuous is formed with have/has been and the -ing form of the verb:


We use the present perfect tense:

  • for something that started in the past and continues in the present:

They’ve been married for nearly fifty years.
She has lived in Liverpool all her life.

Note: We normally use the present perfect continuous for this:

She has been living in Liverpool all her life.
It’s been raining for hours.

  •  for something we have done several times in the past and continue to do:

I’ve played the guitar ever since I was a teenager.
He has written three books and he is working on another one.
I’ve been watching that programme every week.

We often use a clause with since to show when something started in the past:

They’ve been staying with us since last week.
I have worked here since I left school.
I’ve been watching that programme every week since it started.

  • when we are talking about our experience up to the present:

Note: We often use the adverb ever to talk about experience up to the present:

My last birthday was the worst day I have ever had.

Note: and we use never for the negative form:

Have you ever met George?
Yes, but I’ve never met his wife.

  • for something that happened in the past but is important at the time of speaking:

I can’t get in the house. I’ve lost my keys.
Teresa isn’t at home. I think she has gone shopping.
I’m tired out. I’ve been working all day.


 We use the present perfect of be when someone has gone to a place and returned:

A: Where have you been?
B: I’ve just been out to the supermarket.

A: Have you ever been to San Francisco?
B: No, but I’ve been to Los Angeles.

But when someone has not returned we use have/has gone:

A: Where is Maria? I haven’t seen her for weeks.
B: She's gone to Paris for a week. She’ll be back tomorrow.

We often use the present perfect with time adverbials which refer to the recent past:

just; only just; recently;

Scientists have recently discovered a new breed of monkey.
We have just got back from our holidays.

or adverbials which include the present:

ever (in questions); so far; until now; up to now; yet (in questions and negatives)

Have you ever seen a ghost?
Where have you been up to now?
Have you finished your homework yet?
No, so far I’ve only done my history.


We do not use the present perfect with an adverbial which refers to past time which is finished:

I have seen that film yesterday.
We have just bought a new car last week.
When we were children we have been to California.

But we can use it to refer to a time which is not yet finished:

Have you seen Helen today?
We have bought a new car this week.






I've got a question with regard to the following statements:
1. I'm tired. I've been working very hard.
2. I'm tired. I've worked very hard.

Which of these two sentences is correct? Or are both sentences correct? And, could you explain how are these two different from each other?

I'm a bit confused between these two. I've read from a book that the first sentence's use is when an activity has recently stopped or just stopped. However, it also shows result in the present as is stated in its premise.

Hello John,

Both of those sentences are correct. 2 implies that you've finished what you were working on, whereas in 1 it could be that you still have more work to do or it could be that you've just finished. In both cases, you're speaking about an action that began in the past and still is related to the present in some way, i.e. you being tired.

We have a page on the present perfect simple and continuous that I think will help you. You might also want to watch Rob's explanation of it in this short video.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team


I might have posted this question earlier, but I can't seem to locate it. In any case, my question is: What's the difference between "They’ve been staying with us since last week" and "They had been staying with us since last week"? Is it a case where the present perfect implies that "they've been staying with us since last week, and they still do" while the past perfect implies "They had been staying with us since last week, but they no longer stay with us"?


Hello Tim,

The second sentence is not completely correct -- rather than saying 'last week', which is a phrase used from the perspective of the present time, you should say 'previous week', which is a phrase that can be used from the perspective of the past.

In the first sentence, the people are still staying with us now in the present time. In the second sentence (with 'previous week'), the perspective is in the past. You couldn't use the second sentence to speak about people who are still staying with you now.

Does that make sense?

By the way, please post your questions just once. We will get to them when we can.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi..What is the difference between Temporary action in Past perfect continuous and Present Continous?Are they interchangeable?

Hello harminocalove17,

A temporary action described using the past perfect continuous refers to a past action, whereas a present continuous form generally refers to a present temporary action. So they're not interchangeable, at least in theory.

If you have any more questions about this, please give examples -- it's usually easier to explain with specific examples.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

So what is the difference if i say "Im working at Mcdonalds" and "I have been working at Mcdonalds"??or are these both gramaticqlly correct?

Hello harmonicalove17,

In the first sentence (I'm working at...) you are describing something which is true at the moment of speaking. Perhaps you are in the middle of your working day as you speak, or perhaps you are speaking more generally about a temporary situation. The situation is stil in progress; you are still working there as you speak.

In the second sentence (I've been working at...) you are describing a situation which started in the past and continued up to the present, and which may or may not continue into the future. We often use a time reference with this form: ...for five years or ...since 2012.

In many situations you could use either form; the different is really a matter of emphasis and speaker choice.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much

you are confused me in the first example statement
(( They’ve been married for nearly fifty years. )) what is the tense of this statement.
verb have + been + past participle !!!!!

the present perfect is : verb have + past participle
the present perfect continuous is : verb have + been + ing form

so what's the tense for this statement ??