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:

Use

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.

WARNING:

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.

   

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

Hello grainman!
 
You could actually use all of them. You could use the simple past (showed). You could also use show because the information is still true. However, we are most likely to use have shown (studies is plural, so it is have, not has). This is an example of

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

The studies happened in the past, but they give us information about the benefits of learning languages, which is important now.
 
A bit confusing, I know!
 
Regards,
 
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team
 
 
 

Hi all,
regarding the example above:
"I have worked here since I left school."
In which way is that different from
"I've been working here since I left school."
And how about this one:
"I’ve been watching that programme every week since it started."
Where is the difference to
"I've watched that programme every week since it started."
Thanks a bunch

Hello Grammarfrog (& also YumiStern & Davydov_gleb)!
 
You have all asked similar questions about the difference between the present perfect simple and the present perfect progressive. Often, these two tenses are very similar and it makes little difference which one we use; their meanings can be very close.
 
However, there are some differences. Progressive emphasises that the action is continuous. For example:
I have learned guitar since I was a child (note that is not finished, because you can always improve your guitar playing!)
sounds quite neutral.
I have been learning guitar since I was a child
however, sounds like the speaker wants to show that the learning is an active process.
 
This difference is clearer if you compare present perfect for a finished action:
I've done my homework. (= recently finished)
with present perfect for something you're still doing:
I've been doing my homework. (= homework not yet finished)
 
We also use the present perfect progressive when a recently finished activity explains something about the situation now:
I'm very tired, because I've been working all day!
but the present perfect when we want to focus on the action itself.
I've finished 3 reports.
 
The next important difference is to show that something is temporary or short term. For example:
I've been a teacher for ten years, but I've only been teaching at the British Council for 2 years.
Both actions started in the past and carry on until now, but the present progressive in the second part of the sentence shows that this is a shorter term situation. This is why we would probably say
I've played the guitar since I was a child (= long term)
but
I've been watching that program every week (= short term – suggests the program is maybe only a series of 8 programs or whatever)
 
Finally, you can use both present perfect continuous and present perfect to talk about repeated  activities,
I've been going to the gym a lot recently.
I've been to the gym 3 times this week.

but only use present perfect simple if you say how often you've done something with a specific time, like this week.
 
I hope that helps everyone – it's a complicated area! Remember, though, that most of the time it doesn't make a difference to the meaning (started in the past, still on-going), just changes the emphasis slightly. You can see more examples in my answer to Davydov, below.
 
Regards
 
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Jeremy Bee,
It's mentioned by you that (we only use present perfect simple if you say how often you've done something) so we say:
I've been watching that program every week.
especially when the two tenses can be used for short and long term actions.
so can we say I've  watched that program every week. as in
I've been to the gym 3 times this week. I am a little bit confused.
appreciate your help and thanks in advance.

Hello Nour3!
 
Yes, we can say that. As I say at the start of the post, the two tenses are often very similar.
 
Regards
 
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, 
Present Perfect/Present Perfect Continuous
As you have mentioned that (Present Perfect Continuous - is for short term and Present Perfect for long term ) hence how could you define the following example:
I have been working since ten years.(Presnt Perfect Cont)
I have worked for ten years.(Present Perfect).
Awaiting your reply. Thank You.

Hello tanveersayyed!
 
As I said at the start of my reply, present perfect and present perfect continuous are often very close. The short term versus long term distinction is only important in some cases. In your example, the meaning is very similar.
 
Regards 
 
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi! I have read all the present perfect page but I haven't understood the different between present perfect and present perfect continuous yet.
 
Thank you!

Hi, you have some examples above, which i cann't undestand.

1)I’ve played the guitar ever since I was a teenager.
2)I’ve been watching that programme every week.
Could you explain, why in 1 we use Pr.Perf and another one Pr.Perf.Con. As for me, it is repeated action in both sentences.

3)They’ve been staying with us since last week.
4)I have worked here since I left school.

And could you explain difference in such sentences? As for me, in both is action which has started in the past and continue now?

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