Is Present Perfect Continuous tense a commonly used tense in American English? Or do you somehow simplify it with some other structures? Thank you! For example: How long have you been working here? I have been working here for 5 years now.

  • 3
    I would be curious myself as to what precipitated this question. Progressive, or, continuous tenses are very much alive in American English..
    – J. Taylor
    Dec 14, 2018 at 16:32
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    @J.Taylor As they are in English everywhere! (At least, so far as I know. I can't speak for places such as the Christmas Islands!)
    – WS2
    Dec 14, 2018 at 16:52

1 Answer 1


Present perfect continuous or present perfect progressive is used often enough. In speech, I've more often heard it in a contracted form ("I've been verbing..."), whereas the extended form ("I have been verbing") might be more emphatic with certain vocal intonations. I wouldn't blink at either usage in speech or writing.

The form is commonly used to signal the relationship between an activity and the present. That activity could be ongoing or recently finished.

Ongoing: I have been writing this post for several minutes now.

Finished: I have been sleeping.

Adverbs can sometimes produce similar meanings, though note the slight differences in meaning:

Finished - past progressive with just signalling a recently completed action: I was just sleeping OR I was sleeping just now.

Ongoing - present progressive with still signalling an ongoing action: I am still writing this post.

Using the present perfect continuous makes it easier to assign durations of time to what I have been doing, and (at least out of habit) I'd have trouble avoiding this tense in English.

Sources: https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/everyday-grammar-could-have-should-have-would-have/3391128.html



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