Learn and practise the difference between the present perfect continuous and the present perfect simple in English.A
B Compare these examples:
- My hands are very dirty. I’ve been repairing my bike.
- My bike is OK again now. I’ve repaired it. (= I’ve finished repairing it)
- Joe has been eating too much recently. He should eat less.
- Somebody has eaten all the chocolates. The box is empty.
- It’s nice to see you again. What have you been doing since we last met?
- Where’s the book I gave you? What have you done with it?
- Where have you been? Have you been playing tennis?
- Have you ever played tennis?
We use the continuous to say how long (for something that is still happening):
- How long have you been reading that book?
- Amy is writing emails. She’s been writing emails all morning.
- They’ve been playing tennis since 2 o’clock.
- I’m learning Arabic, but I haven’t been learning it very long.
We use the simple to say how much, how many or how many times (for completed actions):
- How many pages of that book have you read?
- Amy has sent lots of emails this morning.
- They’ve played tennis three times this week.
- I’m learning Arabic, but I haven’t learnt very much yet.
- I’ve known about the problem for a long time. (not I’ve been knowing)
- How long have you had that camera? (not have you been having)
But note that you can use want and mean in the present perfect continuous (have/has been + -ing):
- I’ve been meaning to phone Anna, but I keep forgetting.