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Present perfect simple and continuous

Do you know the difference between We've painted the room and We've been painting the room?

Look at these examples to see how the present perfect simple and continuous are used.

We've painted the bathroom. 
She's been training for a half-marathon.
I've had three coffees already today!
They've been waiting for hours.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Grammar B1-B2: Present perfect simple and present perfect continuous: 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

We use both the present perfect simple (have or has + past participle) and the present perfect continuous (have or has + been + -ing form) to talk about past actions or states which are still connected to the present.

Focusing on result or activity

The present perfect simple usually focuses on the result of the activity in some way, and the present perfect continuous usually focuses on the activity itself in some way. 

Present perfect simple Present perfect continuous
Focuses on the result Focuses on the activity
You've cleaned the bathroom! It looks lovely! I've been gardening. It's so nice out there.
Says 'how many' Says 'how long'
She's read ten books this summer. She's been reading that book all day.
Describes a completed action Describes an activity which may continue
I've written you an email.  I've been writing emails.
  When we can see evidence of recent activity
  The grass looks wet. Has it been raining?
I know, I'm really red. I've been running!

Ongoing states and actions

We often use for, since and how long with the present perfect simple to talk about ongoing states.

How long have you known each other?
We've known each other since we were at school. 

We often use for, since and how long with the present perfect continuous to talk about ongoing single or repeated actions.

How long have they been playing tennis?
They've been playing tennis for an hour.
They've been playing tennis every Sunday for years.

Sometimes the present perfect continuous can emphasise that a situation is temporary.

I usually go to the gym on the High Street, but it's closed for repairs at the moment so I've been going to the one in the shopping centre. 

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Grammar B1-B2: Present perfect simple and present perfect continuous: 2

Language level

Intermediate: B1

Comments

Hello again maazbin,

If you use since then the present perfect is necessary here (have been) because it describes a situation starting in the past and continuing up to the present. You could use the present simple (am) without since. This would describe the current situation without reference to when it started.

I have been in isolation since April 21.

I am in isolation.

 

Neither of these sentences are continuous. In the first sentence the verb is present perfect simple. In the second it is present simple.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much.
One more thing, is emphasis the only difference between present continuous and present perfect continuous? Like "I am waiting for you." and "I have been waiting for you."

Do both sentences give the same meaning ?

Hello maazbin

'I am waiting for you' only refers to now; 'I have been waiting for you' refers to the past and the present. Please note that both the present continuous and the present perfect continuous can be used for various reasons -- if you follow the links, you'll see an explanation of the main ones.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Good morning! Firstly, can we say they play tennis every Sunday for years instead of they've been playing tennis every Sunday for years? Secondly, what is the conceptual difference between the present continuous and the present perfect continuous in sentences as the following one: I usually go to the gym on the High Street, but it's closed for repairs at the moment so I've been going to the one in the shopping centre? I mean if I replace the “I have been going” with “I am going”.

Hello avger

Regarding your first question, no, it's not correct to use the present simple there. This is because the action clearly began in the past and is still going on these days. In many of the languages I've studied (e.g. Spanish), a verb form like the present simple works here, but in English it doesn't. Even if you were talking about something as regular and old as the sun rising, you'd need to use a present perfect continuous form here (e.g. 'The sun has been rising every day for billions of years').

As for your second question, I can't think of any real difference in meaning or in the conceptualisation of the situation. The present perfect form of course puts a little more emphasis on the fact that it began in the past, but that is also clear with the present form. The most important feature of both is the continuous aspect, which shows that this situation is a departure from the normal.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi
Could you please answer the following question?
Does this sentence "I know, I'm really red. I've been running!" means that the speaker is still running? If not, can being red be the result of running and and we should use present perfect form?

Hello hj1992

In this case, it means that the speaker stopped running very recently, recent enough that the redness in their face is the result of their running. As the chart above states, the redness is evidence of recent activity (the running).

If the speaker were still running at the time they said this, then 'I'm running' would be the verb form to use to show this.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Can we change the place of " already" in this sentence ?
I've had three coffees already today!

Hello 83roman,

Adverbs are often very flexible in terms of their position and you can move already in this sentence. All of these are perfectly fine:

I've had three coffees already today!

I've already had three coffees today!

I've had three coffees today already!

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

these questions are not difficult but this kind of exercises can help us with some doubts in our day to day

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