If you say you do not spend your time looking at people intently over prolonged periods of time, and you do not like seaweed legume with lentils, I might believe you. The advice we compare here is not quite true about the Present Perfect Continuous, either.

"The present perfect continuous tense is used to refer to an unspecified time between 'before now' and 'now'; actions that started in the past and continue in the present.
She has been waiting for you all day.

"Actions that have just finished, but we are interested in the results"
She has been cooking since last night.


We could learn rules as above and mind to follow. Real-life however, we could hear or read,

"She has been reading for an hour".

The Present Perfect Continuous would work for unspecified as well as specified time. Specification on time is not defining. It should not be part the grammar rule.

Real-life as well, we might be unable to find someone who would wait for anyone or anything all day. We might have to look for someone "all our lives", go to war, or seek to bring around privation. None of the unattractive options is fit to make a grammar rule: even if we found someone, we would have to do a day of looking at them, to say what they have been doing all day.

I mean, people happen just to say things, but this is not what you learn for good grammar. If we go as grossly general on time as to say "all day" for no reason at all, we might discourage intelligent people from communicating with us.


The resource also says we can use the Present Perfect Continuous, "when actions have just finished, but we are interested in the results".
She has been cooking since last night.

Well, grandpa would skip seaweed legume, not his grammar. This is to mean, if we are not interested in the results, we use the same tense. It is not the quality, but the character and duration of activity the grammatical Aspect renders.


Let try to comprehend the Perfect Continuous Aspect. We have three Perfect Continuous tenses: Present, Past, and Future. Let us think what the Perfect Continuous is itself, before we think about referring it to the Present, Past, or Future.

By the label, the Perfect Continuous should combine the Perfect and the Continuous. The name "Continuous" denotes exactly the same form we may know as the Progressive. I prefer the name "Progressive", as again, I would not be so grossly general on time, as to imply something is continuously going on, whereas this hardly would be the fact.

We can think about a general pattern for the Progressive, however.


The Progressive: We can use it to say that something was, is, or will be IN progress, IN its course. To visualize this Aspect, we could picture activity or faculties in an area.

The Perfect: we can use it to say what had taken place, has taken place, or will have taken place TO a moment in time. The moment does not have to mark the end of the state, activity, or faculty work. We may be viewing the course or occurrence of the activity as a way to a place. We can have a general pattern for the Perfect Aspect.



Travelers in Grammar have the Simple, Progressive, and Perfect laid out in CHAPTER 4

To combine the Perfect and the Progressive, we join their grammatical patterns.
Our Travel in Grammar tells more in CHAPTER 8.

We can reckon the verb to be from the Progressive takes the place for the head verb in the Perfect pattern.


The verb to have in the Perfect attracts the third form. The Progressive auxiliary be takes on the third form, within the Perfect pattern.


We can have the Perfect Progressive for a merger of the Perfect and the Progressive. Our alchemy makes room for the head verb in the merged, Progressive pattern.


We can try a few examples.

I have been writing. 
He (she, it) has been reading. 
You (we, they) will have been talking.

Let us think about the meaning of our alchemy.

We can use the Perfect to say what has progressed TO a time.


We can use the Progressive to tell what is progressing IN a time.


The two combined, the Perfect Progressive can help tell what has been progressing IN a stretch of time we refer TO another time.


What language marker (preposition) could we choose for our merged variable? We could think about “into”, to join the “in” and “to”. However, “into” may mean the same as “in” or “to” alone, dependent on the context.

Let us think about the preposition AT.
Something has been progressing AT this time.
Value AT illustration

If our moment in time belongs with the FUTURE, we can say,
AT a time, something will have been progressing.

If our moment belongs with the PAST, we can say,
AT a time, something had been progressing.


Our visualization is not to fix a picture for language. We do not have to stay with the same visuals for all time. We can present our mapping on one extent, as well as a few extents.



Feel welcome to Travel in Grammar.