Present Perfect Continuous: Negative & Questions

We often use the Present Perfect Continuous to express a continuing activity in the past that still influences the present moment. 

Questions in Present Perfect Continuous

We often use the Present Perfect Continuous to ask and answer questions focusing on the duration of an activity. We often use the question How long …+ Present Perfect Continuous.

To make questions in the Present Perfect Continuous, put ‘have’/’has’ before the subject and add ‘been + ‘-ing’ form of the verb:

  • Has he been running? He’s out of breath.

Yes/No questions

To create a question that will be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, use ‘Have‘ / ‘Has‘ (or ‘Hadn’t‘ / ‘Hasn’t‘ for a negative question) + been + -ing verb.

I have (I’ve) been reading
You have been reading
He/she/it has been reading
We have been reading
You have been reading
They have been reading
  • Have you been watching the movie?
  • Yes, come in, let’s watch it together.
  • Has she been studying French this year?
  • Yes, and she is taking her exam next Monday.
  • Have they been waiting for the bus for an hour?
  • Unfortunately… Looks like the bus broke down.

Note: In short positive answers to the Present Perfect Continuous questions we use only full forms of ‘have’ / ‘has’. In short negative answers we can also use short forms of ‘have’ / ‘has’.

  • Have you been waiting here for two hours?
  • Yes, I have (No, I haven’t).
  • Has he been learning English for five years?
  • Yes, he has (No, he hasn’t).

Special questions

Special questions (also known as wh-questions) are questions that require more information in their answers. They are made using wh- words such as what, where, when, why, which, who, how, how many, how much. In Present Perfect Continuous, we usually use ‘how long‘.

To make a special question, use the same word order as with yes-no questions but put a wh-word before the verb ‘have’ or ‘has’. The structure is:

wh-word + have/has + [subject] + -ing verb

  • How long have you been waiting for me?
  • Why has she been working today?
  • What have you been doing for the last 30 minutes?
  • Why has Nancy not been taking her medicine for the last three days?

Negative forms of Present Perfect Continuous

To make negative statements in the Present Perfect Continuous, we use:

have/has not (haven’t/hasn’t) + been + the ‘-ing’ form of the verb

I haven’t been running
You haven’t been running
He/she/it hasn’t been running
We haven’t been running
You haven’t been running
They haven’t been running
  • I haven’t been eating all day long. I am very hungry.
  • Vicky hasn’t been sleeping last night and now she looks drowsy.
  • We haven’t been talking to each other since last Friday.

See also:

Present Perfect Continuous: Statements

Present Perfect or Present Perfect Continuous?

Present Perfect Continuous or Past Perfect Continuous?

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