To make the Present Perfect Continuous we use the auxiliary verb have + been + the gerund form of a verb.
We use this verb tense to talk about actions that began in the past and either continue to the present time, or impact upon the present time.
At this point you might be thinking, “hey, wait a minute. Isn’t that one of the same reasons that we use the Present Perfect“? Yes, it is! In some cases, you can use either the Present Perfect or the Present Perfect Continuous without changing the meaning.
Correct: Camila has worked here for six months.
Correct: Camila has been working here for six months.
In many cases we can use either tense, but it changes the meaning. Look at the examples below:
Let’s look at the situations where we don’t use the Present Perfect Continuous, and have to use the Present Perfect instead.
1.) We don’t use the Present Perfect Continuous to talk about actions that are completed, and that do not not impact on the present.
Correct: Have you ever celebrated an achievement?
Have you ever been celebrating an achievement?
2.) We don’t use Present Perfect Continuous with stative verbs, which are verbs that refer to mental and emotional states.
Some common stative verbs are:
Correct: We have known the truth for years.
We have been knowing the truth for years.
Correct: Tammy has belonged to the club since it opened.
Tammy has been belonging to the club since it opened.
3.) We don’t use Present Perfect Continuous with verbs that are completed in a single moment, such as start, begin, stop, and finish.
Correct: Has the dinner party begun?
Has the dinner party been beginning?
You can make your sentences more precise and elegant by adding signal words.