A verb construction (made up of has/have + been + a present participle) that emphasizes the ongoing nature of an action that began in the past and continues in the present. See also:
Examples and Observations:
- "Try to understand how hard he has been trying to make everything better for his family."
(Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun, 1959)
- "I have been waiting. I have been searching. I am a man under the moon, walking the streets of earth until dawn. There's got to be someone for me."
(Henry Rollins, Solipsist, 1998)
- "The ocean has been singing to me, and the song is that of our life together."
(Nicholas Sparks, Message in a Bottle, 1999)
- "The present perfect progressive and present perfect are sometimes essentially interchangeable. The main difference may be that the present perfect progressive, which includes the progressive aspect, confers a sense of ongoingness. Thus, (60a), with the activity verb work in the present perfect progressive, and (60b), with work in the present perfect, have essentially the same meaning, although in (60a) the activity seems more continuous and ongoing,
(60) a. He has been working with our company for over 20 years.
Often, however, the two tenses are not interchangeable. Consider the sentences in (61), in which the for prepositional phrase of duration in (60) has been omitted.
(60) b. He has worked with our company for over 20 years.
(61) a. He has been working with our company.
Sentence (61a), with the present perfect progressive, still has the sense of the work continuing to the present; however, in (61b), with the present perfect, the work occurred at some time or times in the past."
(61) b. He has worked with our company.
(Ron Cowan, The Teacher's Grammar of English: A Course Book and Reference Guide. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2008)
Also Known As: present perfect continuous