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How to Use Perfect Continuous Tenses in English

The perfect continuous tenses

The Perfect Continuous Tenses, also known as the perfect continuous tenses. It is a category of verb tense used to describe continuous completed actions. 

It covers the past perfect continuous, present perfect continuous and future perfect continuous.


What is the perfect continuous?


Perfect continuous are continuous verbs in the past, present or future. Here is the explanation with rules and examples:


1. Present perfect continuous tense

The Present Perfect Continuous is used to do something that you have been and are still doing or is continuing until now. 

The form is: Have, has + been + verb + ing.

For examples:

  • have been teaching English for almost 20 years.
  • He has been playing the guitar for about an hour.
  • We have been working together.
  • She has been talking on the phone with her mother for 60 minutes.

2. Future perfect continuous tense

The Future Perfect Continuous is used in a verb that will happen in the future and it will continue.

The form is: Will have been + verb + ing.

For examples:

  • will have been waiting here for three hours by six o'clock.
  • By 2020 I will have been living in Dubai for sixteen years.
  • Next year I will have been working here for four years.
  • When I finish this course, I will have been learning English for twenty years.

3. Past perfect continuous tense

The Past Perfect Continuous is used in an action that happened in the past and continued and ended in the past. 

The form is: Had been + verb + ing.

For examples:

  • Had you been waiting long before the taxi arrived?
  • We had been trying to open the door for five minutes when she found her key.
  • It had been raining hard for several hours and the streets were very wet.
  • He told them he had been working late in the office that night.
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