Teaching the Present Perfect Progressive

My last post dealt with the Present Perfect. There are still many Perfect Tenses that we have to study.

Today we will concentrate on the Present Perfect Progressive.

Present Perfect Progressive

We have been studying all day long, but we haven’t finished our homework yet.

If we look at the name of the tense, it may seem confusing since the Present Perfect Progressive is not exactly a present, it is certainly not perfect and we may wonder where it is really progressing to?

The meaning of the name

Is the name Present Perfect Progressive meaningless? Not exactly. The name helps us remember the structure of the tense.

As soon as we see the word PERFECT, we know we need the helping verb HAVE.

When we see the word PRESENT, we know we need the PRESENT of the verb HAVE (have, has).

The word PROGRESSIVE indicates that we need the ing form of the main verb. We cannot put ING after Have. That is why we put  BEEN (the third form of the verb Be) between HAVE and the ING form of the main verb.

         have (or has) + been  + ving 

         We have been working.

This may seem confusing, but it becomes very simple if we look at the name and follow the hints…

And when do we use this tense?

We use the Present Perfect Progressive to describe an action that started in the Past and has been going on up until now.

e.g., The kids have been doing homework since 5 o’clock. (They started at five and they are probably still working, anyway, they have been working up until this very moment.)

Special remarks:

We will generally use the Present Perfect and not the Present Perfect Progressive for Stative Verbs

e.g., I have known Bob for many years.

We don’t use the Present Perfect Progressive Negative very often. We usually prefer the Present Perfect in such cases.

e.g., We haven’t received any letter from Bob for months.

And that’s all so far.

For further explanations, please see:

דקדוק אנגלי לדוברי עברית, עמ’ 60-63

For practice, please see:

The New Language Guidebook and Workbook, p 45-49.

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