Present perfect simple and continuous

Por fin estamos de vuelta por el BLOG con un nuevo post, pero en Brickfield hace tiempo que comenzamos el curso, y ya hemos retomado las clases y las rutinas. Aquí, un apartado más educativo e informativo, queríamos empezar fuerte con uno de los temas más importantes: los verbos en inglés.

Hoy venimos con ‘Present perfect simple and continuous’, tiempos verbales muy demandados en los temarios de los exámenes oficiales.

We use the Present Perfect Simple:

*when we are describing situations that have continued from some time in the past until now.

Eduard has lived in Italy for ten years. 

*when we are describing recent events

I’ve eaten one bar of chocolate with almonds, an apple and two packets of crisps so far today.

*To say that an action happened at an unspecified time before now. We cannot use the Present Perfect with specific time expressions such as: yesterday, one year ago, last week, when I was a child, at that moment, that day, one day, etc.

*when we are describing repeated actions that have continued from some time in the past until now

We’ve read four books this semester.

*When we talk about a change that has happened over a period of time.

You have grown a lot since the last time I saw you.”

*When we want to talk about unfinished actions that started in the past and continue to the present. Usually we use it to say ‘how long’ an action or state has continued with ‘since’ and ‘for’. we often use stative verbs in this situation:

    “I have known her since 1985.” I know her since 1985

“I have disliked oranges since I was a child.”

We can use the Present Perfect with unspecific expressions such as: ever, never, once, many times, several times, before, so far, already, yet, etc.



Subject + Have/Has (3rd person sing.)+Verb (in past participle)+Complements

Examples: I have worked as a librarian since 2010.


Subject + Have/Has + not + Verb (in past participle) +Complements

Examples: I have not read Pride and Prejudice.


Have/Has + Subject + Verbs (past participle) + Complements?

Examples: Have you cooked the dinner?

Present perfect simple with since and for

We often use for and since when talking about time.

For + period: a “period” is a duration of time – five minutes, two weeks..

For means “from the beginning of the period to the end of the period”.

Since + point: a “point” is a precise moment in time – 9 o’clock, 1st January, Monday. Since means “from a point in the past until now”.

FOR a period (from start to end)    ˃ = = = ˂SINCE a point (up to now) x = = = ˃
For ten minutesFor two daysFor 7 monthsFor 3 yearsFor a long timeFor everEtc.Since 7 amSince FridaySince AprilSince 2010Since I was a childSince the beginning of the timeEtc.
All tensesPerfect tenses only


For can be used with all tenses. Here are a few examples:

They read a book for one hour every day.

My parents are walking for two hours today.

I have been studying for three hours. 

His brother has been living in Manchester for seven months.

Marie worked at that company for twelve years.

We do not use for with “all day”, “all the time”:

She was there all day. (not for all day)


Since is normally used with perfect tenses:

She has been a teacher since 2015. 

He has been crying since he arrived at school.

Present Perfect Simple with Just,Yet, Still and Already

These words are often used with the present perfect tense although yet, still and already can all be used with other tenses.


Just’ is usually used only with the present perfect tense and it means ‘a short time ago’.

We have just started this presentation about technology.

In the present perfect, ‘just’ comes between the auxiliary verb (‘have’) and the past participle.


Yet’ is used to talk about something which is expected to happen. It means ‘at any time up to now’. It is used in questions and negatives.

Have you been to New York yet?

No, I haven’t been to New York yet.

 ‘Yet’ usually comes at the end of the sentence.


‘Still’ is used to talk about something that hasn’t finished – especially when we expected it to finish earlier.

I’ve been waiting for over an hour and the bus still hasn’t come.

You promised to give me that report yesterday and you still haven’t finished it.

‘Still’ usually comes in ‘mid-position’

Still is often used with other tenses as well as the present perfect.

I’ve still got all those letters you sent me.

Are you still working in the bookshop?


Already’ is used to say that something has happened early – or earlier than it might have happened.

I’ve already spent my salary and it’s two weeks before pay day.

The train’s already left! What are we going to do?

Already’ usually comes in mid-position.

Present Perfect Simple with Ever and Never

The adverbs ever and never express the idea of an unidentified time before now (Have you ever visited Berlin?) ‘Ever’ and ‘never’ are always placed before the main verb (past participle).


In questions: Have you ever been to England?

In negative questions: Haven’t they ever been to Europe?

In negative statements using the pattern nothing + ever or nobody + ever

Nobody has ever said that to me before.

With ‘The first time’: It’s the first time that I’ve ever eaten snails.


Never means at no time before now, and is the same as not…ever: 

I have never visited Berlin

Uses of Present perfect simple vs past simple

-When we are thinking about the past and present: I’ve broken my leg so I cannot go skiing with you.
-When we are not interested in when the action happened, but we are interested in the result now: I’ve lost my phone (and now I can’t call my mum).
-To talk about experiences over a time that started in the past and continues until now, but we don’t say when: I’ve never been to London (until now, but I may go in the future).
-To give news: I’ve had my computer fixed.If we ask questions about the time that started in the past and continues into the present, we use the present perfect: How long have you studied English? I’ve studies English for 2 years.
-When we are thinking about the past but not the present: I broke my leg when I was playing basketball.
– When we are interested in when this action happened: I lost my phone yesterday
-When these experiences happened over a time in the past: I didn’t go to London ( I’m not in England now).
– To add more details to these news:I went to the shop next to my house.We use the past simple to ask questions about a time in the past: When did you start studying English?

Present Perfect Continuous

We use the present perfect continuous:

*To put emphasis on the duration or course of an action (not the result).  

“She has been driving for two hours.”

*To refer to an action that recently stopped or is still going on

I have been living in London since 2001.”

*To refer to a finished action that influenced the present

I have been studying all afternoon.”



 Subject + have/has (3rd p.singular) + been + Verb + Ing + Complements.

 Examples: I have been painting the room/ She has been painting the room


Subject + have/has + not + been + Verb + Ing + Complements.

Examples: I have not been painting the room/ She has not been painting the room.


Have/has + Subject + been + Verb + Ing + Complements?

Examples: Have you been painting the room?/ Has she been painting the room?

Exceptions in Spelling when adding –ing

-Final e is dropped (but: ee is not changed).

Examples: come – coming (but: agree – agreeing

-After a short, stressed vowel, the final consonant is doubled.

Example: sit–sitting

-The ´L´ as final consonant after a vowel is doubled (in British English).

example: travel–travelling

-Final ie becomes y

Example: lie–lying

Signal Words of Present Perfect Continuous

All day, for 4 years, since 1993, how long? the whole week…

You can also use the Present Perfect Continuous without a duration such as “for two weeks.” Without the duration, the tense has a more general meaning of “lately.” We often use the words “lately” or “recently” to emphasize this meaning.

-Examples: Have you been watching TV lately?

                   Recently, she has been studying really hard for the final exam.


It is important to remember that non-continuous verbs cannot be used in any continuous tenses. Also, certain non-continuous meanings for mixed verbs (verbs that change the meaning depending on if they are non-continuous or normal verbs) such as: appear, feel, have, see… cannot be used in continuous tenses. Instead of using Present Perfect Continuous with these verbs, you must use Present Perfect.


I have been having this computer for two years. It´s NOT correct.

I have had this computer for two years. It´s CORRECT.


Below you have some examples that show the placement for grammar adverbs such as: only, never, ever, still, just, etc.

You have just been studying for thirty minutes.

Have you just been studying for thirty minutes?

Uses of Present perfect simple vs past simple

-emphasises the result:I’ve phoned my relatives and they are coming to the wedding.
says how much of an activity is complete. I’ve studied 3 units.
may give the idea that something is permanent. My sister has worked in the same company all her life.
-is used when we want to say how many times an action has been repeated. I’ve seen that film three times and I never get bored with it.
-emphasis the action: I’ve been phoning my relatives (and that’s why I haven’t done my homework).
-says how long the activity has been in progress. I’ve been studying all the night
-may give the idea that something is temporary. She’s been working in this shop for the last 3 months until she goes to university.
when we want to emphasise the process of change over a period of time and that these changes are not finished. The teacher says my English has been improving since I started watching films and series in English.

Ejercicios del pretérito perfecto simple y continuo

1 I _________________ (read) the book you lent me.

2 How many hours ____________________ (wait) for him?

3 ____________________ (wash) the car? It looks nice!

4 That man ____________________ (stand) in that corner for hours.

5 They _____________________ (see) Tom’s brother in two years.

6 We _____________________ (learn) German for six years.

7 My friend Tomas _________________ (visit) his grandmother three times last week.

8 I ______________________ (clean) the house all day.

9 _________________ (study) very hard to pass the exam?

10 I ______________________ (learn) the different uses of verb tense.


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