Study this example situation:

“Is it raining?”  “No, but the ground is wet. It has been raining.”

“Is it raining?” “No, but the ground is wet. It has been raining.” - English Grammar - Present perfect continuous (I have been doing)
“Is it raining?” “No, but the ground is wet. It has been raining.”

 

Have/has been -ing is the present perfect continuous:

Have/has been -ing is the present perfect continuous. - English Grammar - Present perfect continuous (I have been doing)

We use the present perfect continuous for an activity that has recently stopped or just stopped. There is a connection with now:

  • You’re out of breath. Have you been running? (you’re out of breath now)
You’re out of breath. Have you been running? - English Grammar - Present perfect continuous (I have been doing)
You’re out of breath. Have you been running?

 

  • James is very tired. He’s been working very hard. (he’s tired now)
James is very tired. He’s been working very hard. - English Grammar - Present perfect continuous (I have been doing)
James is very tired. He’s been working very hard.

 

  • Why are your clothes so dirty? What have you been doing?
Why are your clothes so dirty? What have you been doing? - English Grammar - Present perfect continuous (I have been doing)
Why are your clothes so dirty? What have you been doing?

 

  • I’ve been talking to Helen about the problem and she thinks that…
I’ve been talking to Helen about the problem and she thinks that… - English Grammar - Present perfect continuous (I have been doing)
I’ve been talking to Helen about the problem and she thinks that…

 

Study this example situation:

It is raining now. It began raining two hours ago and it is still raining.

How long has it been raining?

It has been raining for two hours.

It is raining now. How long has it been raining? It has been raining for two hours. - English Grammar - Present perfect continuous (I have been doing)
It is raining now. How long has it been raining? It has been raining for two hours.

 

We often use the present perfect continuous in this way, especially with how long, for… and since…. The activity is still happening (as in this example) or has just stopped.

  • How long have you been learning English? (you’re still learning English)
How long have you been learning English? - English Grammar - Present perfect continuous (I have been doing)
How long have you been learning English?

 

  • Paul is still watching television. He’s been watching television all day.
Paul is still watching television. He’s been watching television all day. - English Grammar - Present perfect continuous (I have been doing)
Paul is still watching television. He’s been watching television all day.

 

  • Where have you been? We’ve been looking for you for the last half hour.
Where have you been? We’ve been looking for you for the last half hour. - English Grammar - Present perfect continuous (I have been doing)
Where have you been? We’ve been looking for you for the last half hour.

 

  • Susan hasn’t been feeling well recently.
Susan hasn’t been feeling well recently. - English Grammar - Present perfect continuous (I have been doing)
Susan hasn’t been feeling well recently.

 

You can use the present perfect continuous for actions repeated over a period of time:

  • Novak is a very good tennis player. He’s been playing since he was five.
Novak is a very good tennis player. He’s been playing since he was five. - English Grammar - Present perfect continuous (I have been doing)
Novak is a very good tennis player. He’s been playing since he was five.

 

  • Every morning they meet in the same café. They’ve been going there for years.
Every morning they meet in the same café. They’ve been going there for years. - English Grammar - Present perfect continuous (I have been doing)
Every morning they meet in the same café. They’ve been going there for years.

 

Compare I am doing and I have been doing:

I am doing (Present continuous) - English Grammar - Present perfect continuous (I have been doing)

I have been doing (Present perfect continuous) - English Grammar - Present perfect continuous (I have been doing)

  • Don’t disturb me now. I’m working.
Don’t disturb me now. I’m working. - English Grammar - Present perfect continuous (I have been doing)
Don’t disturb me now. I’m working.

 

  • I’ve been working hard, so now I’m going to have a rest.
I’ve been working hard, so now I’m going to have a rest. - English Grammar - Present perfect continuous (I have been doing)
I’ve been working hard, so now I’m going to have a rest.

 

  • We need an umbrella. It’s raining.
We need an umbrella. It’s raining. - English Grammar - Present perfect continuous (I have been doing)
We need an umbrella. It’s raining.

 

  • The ground is wet. It’s been raining.
The ground is wet. It’s been raining. - English Grammar - Present perfect continuous (I have been doing)
The ground is wet. It’s been raining.

 

  • Hurry up! We’re waiting.
Hurry up! We’re waiting. - English Grammar - Present perfect continuous (I have been doing)
Hurry up! We’re waiting.

 

  • I’ve been waiting for an hour.
I’ve been waiting for an hour. - English Grammar - Present perfect continuous (I have been doing)
I’ve been waiting for an hour.