Present Perfect Simple and Present Perfect Continuous Contrasted

Differences and similarities in the Present Perfect Simple and the Present Perfect Continuous?

1. Use

Both tenses are very similar. There are sentences where we can use the Present Perfect Simple or the Present Perfect Continuous. The focus in the continuous form is on the duration while the simple focuses more on the action.

  • It has snowed since the weekend. → (It has snowed – at least once or now and then.)
  • It has been snowing since the weekend. → (It has been snowing every day since the weekend.)

There are verbs which are normally not used with the continuous forms. These are called stative verbs, you will find a list and explanations here.

2. Form

Present Perfect SimplePresent Perfect Continuous
have/has + past participle*have/has been infinitive + ing

3. Examples

3.1. Affirmative sentences

Present Perfect SimplePresent Perfect Continuous
have done my homework.I have been playing football.
You have done your homework.You have been playing football.
He has done his homework.He has been playing football.

3.2. Negative sentences

Present Perfect SimplePresent Perfect Continuous
have not done my homework.have not been playing football.
You have not done your homework.You have not been playing football.
He has not done his homework.He has not been playing football.

3.3. Question

Present PerfectPresent Perfect Continuous
Have I done my homework?Have I been playing football?
Have you done my homework?Have you been playing football?
Has he done my homework?Has he been playing football?

4. Spelling

Present Perfect SimplePresent Perfect Continuous
  • stopped (Double the consonant after a short vowel.)
  • lived (one -e at the end of the word → Add only -d.)
  • hurried (consonant before -y → Change to -i.)
  • hitting (Double the consonant after a short vowel.)
  • making (Drop the silent -e.)
  • dying (Change -ie to -y.)

past participle:

  • regular verbs → infinitive ed
  • irregular verbs → 3rd column of the table of the irregular verbs