English Tenses: Present Perfect Simple vs. Present Perfect Continuous

Learn the difference between the Present Perfect simple vs. Present Perfect Continuous Tense in English with examples and useful grammar rules.

In this lesson, you will find a clear explanation of when and how to use the Present Perfect (I have done) and when to use the Present Perfect Continuous (I have been doing).

Difference between Present Perfect Simple vs. Present Perfect Continuous

Present Perfect Simple Tense

Form:

Formed by adding “have/has” to the past participle

S + have/has + V3

Use:

  • Used with finished actions

The kids have played for 2 hours.

  • Used for permanent actions

I have taught English for 12 years.

  • Emphasis on the result of the action

He has repaired the car.

  • Indicate “How much/How many have been completed”

It has taken six years to write this book.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense

Form:

Formed by adding “have/has been” to the present participle

S + have/has + been + V-ing

Use:

  • Used with unfinished actions

The kids have been playing since morning.

  • Used for temporary actions

I have been teaching this class for one hour.

  • Emphasis on the duration of the action

He has been repairing the car for 2 hours.

  • Indicates “How long something has been happening”

He has been studying English for two months.

Note:

Always use the present perfect simple (not continuous) with the verbs believe, know, understand, like/dislike, belong, own:

For examples:

  • We’ve known each other since we were kids.
  • I’ve never understood math very well.
  • He’s always liked sports.

Present Perfect Simple vs. Present Perfect Continuous | Image

Difference between Present Perfect Simple vs. Present Perfect Continuous

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