Present Perfect vs. Present Perfect Continuous Tense


Introduction

The function of the present perfect tense and present continuous tense in the English language are different. We will know about both present perfect and present perfect continuous tense in this tutorial.

What is Present Perfect Tense?

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The present perfect tense indicates something that happened in the past and carries its consequences in the present. It does not show any definite timeline. It also denotes a time in the past and its effect on the present time.

Examples

  • I have talked to him. (action of past with no timeline indication)

  • He has become irritable with time. (something that has begun previously and carries an effect in the present)

What is Present Perfect Continuous Tense?

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The present perfect continuous tense depicts a time that started in the past and continues till now.

Example

  • I have been reading the book for an hour.

Present Perfect Tense vs. Present Perfect Continuous Tense

There are many differences between present perfect and present continuous tenses. We are going to learn about these in this tutorial. It will be easier to compare and understand these two tenses after knowing the differences.

Construction

Present Perfect Tense

The construction of the present perfect tense is like the following:

Subject + Has/have (auxiliary verb present simple) + past participle (third form of the main verb)

Example

He has stayed here.

Here 'stayed' happens to be the past participle form of the main verb 'stay'. And 'has' is the auxiliary verb in the sentence.

So, we need an auxiliary verb ‘has’ or ‘have’ along with the past participle form of the main verb to form a present perfect tense. The past participle form of the verb is also known as the third form of the verb. The auxiliary verb form is to be in the simple present form.

To transform the main verb into a past participle form, you need to add '-ed' with the main verb or put the irregular verb form.

Example

I have finished writing.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense

The construction of the present perfect continuous tense differs from the present perfect tense.

Here we have:

Subject + Has / have (auxiliary verb present simple) + been (past participle form of 'be' verb) + Present participle form main verb (main verb + ing)

It is evident from the construction that we form the present perfect continuous tense with the present form of auxiliary verb (have/has) along with the past participle of 'be verb' (been).

And at last, the present participle of the main verb (-ing) is there to denote the action with time.

Example

I have been feeling sick lately.

Negative sentence

Present Perfect Tense

If we need to construct a negative sentence with present perfect tense, then the word 'not' will be between the auxiliary verb and the main verb.

Examples in sentences

  • I have not finished writing

  • We have not gone there.

To construct a negative statement, 'not' is placed between 'have' and 'finished'.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense

The construction of the negative sentence with the present perfect continuous tense happens when we use the word 'not'.

The word 'not' comes between the first auxiliary verb and the 'be' verb.

Examples in sentences

  • I have not been late for work lately.

  • He has not been doing well recently.

Interrogative sentence

Present Perfect Tense

Construction of interrogative sentences with the present perfect tense looks like below:

Auxiliary verb + Subject + Past participle form of the main verb + Rest of the sentence

Examples

  • Have you done your homework?

  • Have they left for the city?

Present Perfect Continuous Tense

The construction of the interrogative sentences with the present perfect continuous tense looks like the following:

First auxiliary verb (has/have) + Subject + Be verb (past participle form) + Present participle form main verb (main verb + ing) + Rest of the sentence

The position of the subject and the first auxiliary verb is exchanged in interrogative sentences.

Examples

  • Has he been trying to reach out?

  • Have you been meeting her?

Contraction and Uses

Present Perfect Tense

Contraction of the present perfect tense is seen in informal writing and spoken English. We contract the subject and the auxiliary verb to do that.

Examples

  • I've done this with perfection

  • You've told me about this.

Present Perfect Continuous tense

Contraction is seen in the present perfect continuous tense in informal writing and spoken English. Here we contract the subject and the first auxiliary verb.

Example

  • Rakesh's been helping us recently. ('Rakesh has' becomes Rakesh's)

  • They've been cooking together lately. ('They have' becomes They've')

Conclusion

If we compare the present perfect tense and present perfect continuous tense, we see a lot of differences. The construction of the sentences and uses are different. The negative and interrogative sentence constructions differ also. This tutorial has helped us to learn about all these.

FAQs

Q1. What is the difference in the main verb forms between present perfect and present perfect continuous tenses?

Ans. The third form of the main verb or the past participle form is used in the present perfect tense. In comparison, we use the present participle form of the main verb with 'ing' in the present perfect continuous tense.

Q2. How is the negative sentence constructed in the present perfect tense?

Ans. The negative word 'not' comes between the auxiliary verb and the main verb (third form of the main verb) while constructing a negative sentence with present perfect tense

Q3. What is the difference between the auxiliary verbs between present perfect and present perfect continuous tenses?

Ans. In the present perfect tense, there is one auxiliary verb has or have. In contrast, the present perfect continuous tense requires a 'be' verb (past participle form 'been') along with has or have. So, there are two auxiliary verbs in the latter.

Q4. What is the present perfect tense?

Ans. The present perfect tense denotes something that has happened in the past with an effect in the present.

Q5. State the differences between the negative sentence construction of present perfect and present perfect continuous tenses.

Ans. The negative word 'not' is used between the auxiliary verb and the main verb in negative sentences of present perfect tenses. In contrast, the negative word 'not is used between the first auxiliary verb and the 'be' verb (been) while writing negative sentences in present perfect continuous tenses.

Updated on: 05-Dec-2022

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