Future Perfect Progressive ~Meaning and Use

future-perfect-cont GraphicThis post will show you how to use the Future Perfect Progressive, also called the Future Perfect Continuous. To see how to form the Future Perfect Progressive, click here.

The Future Perfect Progressive tense is not very common and it’s a bit difficult to make. However, at higher levels it is great to understand it, and maybe even use it sometimes too. It has a very precise meaning, which can be convenient.

We use the Future Perfect Progressive to talk about an ongoing action that takes place before a certain time in the future, or to emphasize a course of action. We often use the Future Perfect Progressive to round up to an even number. We like whole, round numbers and this tense allows us to use those numbers.

A future time expression is usually stated or implied, often with by. This can go at the beginning or end of the sentence with no difference in meaning.

  • By the year 2020, linguists will have been studying Indo-European languages for 200 years. (This is easier than saying that now, in 2015, linguists have been studying Indo-European languages for 195 years. It’s easier to just round up to 200)
  • We will have been driving for six hours by the time we get home.
  • By next March, I will have been teaching here for three years.
  • By the end of this month, we will have been living together for six months.
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Future Perfect Progressive ~ Verb Form

This post will show you how to form the Future Perfect Progressive. To see how to use the Future Perfect Progressive, click here.

 

Affirmative Statements

Subject + Will Have Already Been Verb + ing Future Time Expression
I’ll have already been waiting for an hour by the time they arrive.
You’ll have been working for hours when she starts.
She’ll/He’ll/It’ll have been traveling for three months
We’ll have already been studying for hours by dinner time.
They’ll/You’ll (plural) have already been driving by next June.

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Negative Statements

Future Time Expression Subject Still Will Not (won’t) Have Been Verb + ing
By the time I am 30, I   won’t have been working here for ten years.
When I get home, you   won’t have been studying for too long.
In five years’ time she/he/it still won’t have been doing anything with her life.
By 4:00 am, we still won’t have been sleeping.
By next June, they/you (plural) won’t have been traveling anymore.
     

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Wh- Questions

Wh- word Will Subject Have Been Verb + ing Future Time Expression
What will I have been doing by the time I turn 40?
Who will you have been waiting for?
Where will she/he/it have been living by next year?
Why will you have been sleeping all day?
How will we have been surviving for so long?

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Yes/No Questions

Will Subject Have Been Verb + ing Future Time Expression
Will I have been working for hours by the time she gets home?
Will you have been speaking English for a long time before you move to Melbourne?
Will she/he/it have been traveling for a long time when you come back?
Will we have been everything before we leave?
Will they/you (plural) have been exercising all day?

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Short Answers

Yes Subject Will Have   No Subject Will Not (Won’t) Have
Yes, I will have.   No, I won’t have.
Yes, you will have.   No, you won’t have.
Yes, she/he/it will have.   No, he won’t have.
Yes, we will have.   No, we won’t have.
Yes, they will have.   No, they’re not. won’t have.

 

Past Perfect Progressive – Verb Meaning and Use

past_perfect_cont GraphicThis post will show you how to use the Past Perfect Progressive (also called the Past Perfect Continuous). To see how to form the Past Perfect Progressive, click here.

The Past Perfect Progressive expresses the relationship in time between two past events, similar to the Past Perfect. However, the Past Perfect Progressive emphasizes that the first event was ongoing and continued up to or just before the second event.

  • Tomomi had been studying all night. (Past Perfect Progressive, 1st event)
  • She was exhausted at breakfast. (Past Simple, 2nd event)

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 For and since often show how long a situation lasted before the second past event.

  • Chris left his office at 6:00 pm. (Past Simple, 2nd event)
  • Hed been working since 8:00 am. (Past Perfect Progressive, 1st event)

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The Past Perfect Progressive is often used in sentences using past time clauses.

  • Michelle had been working for nine and a half hours (Past Perfect Progressive, 1st event)
  • by the time she left her office. (Past Simple, 2nd event)

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Certain common verbs can be used with the Past Perfect and the Past Perfect Progressive with little or no difference in meaning, but using the Progressive can show a more intense or emotional situation.

  • Mr. Garcia had lived there since 1982. (Past Perfect)
  • Mr. Garcia had been living there since 1982.  (Past Perfect Progressive)
  • I’d waited an hour (neutral)
  • I’d been waiting an hour. (I was so mad!)

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The Past Perfect can express a completed action that may or may not have happened recently. In contrast, the Past Perfect Progressive suggests that an action was continuing up to or ended just before a specific time in the past.

  • Janice had watered the garden before I arrived. (She may have watered it a few minutes or many hours before I arrived.)
  • Janice had been watering the garden before I arrived. (She watered the garden a few minutes before I arrived. The ground was still wet.)

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We do not use the Past Perfect Progressive to tell how many times an action is repeated.

  • I’d read it three times before. (Correct)
  • I’d been reading it three times before. (Incorrect)

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Both the Past Perfect and the Past Perfect Progressive are used to provide background information about earlier events. They are used to give reasons with because, express contrasts with although or even though, and are used to draw conclusions.

  • She looked very tired because she had been studying all night. (Reason)
  • She looked very tired because she had studied all night. (Reason)
  • She looked very tired although she had been sleeping for 12 hours. (Contrast)
  • She looked very tired although she had slept for 12 hours. (Contrast)
  • I realized that he had been criticizing my work. (Conclusion)
  • I realized that he had criticized my work. (Conclusion)

Past Perfect Progressive – Verb Form

This post will show you how to form the Past Perfect Progressive. To see how to use the Past Perfect Progressive, click here.

Affirmative Statements

Subject + Had Been Verb + ing
I’d   been working all day.
You’d   been waiting for a long time.
She’d/He’d/It’d   been snowing all night.
We’d   been eating dinner.
They’d/You’d (plural)   been investing a lot of money.

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Negative Statements

Subject Had Not (hadn’t) Been Verb + ing
I hadn’t been going to school for some time.
You hadn’t been writing your essay.
She/He/It hadn’t been dating her for very long.
We hadn’t been traveling for a while.
They/You (plural) hadn’t been sleeping well.

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Yes/No Questions

Had Subject Been Verb + ing
Had you been living in Dubai
Had it been raining all morning?
Had they been driving all night?
     

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Short Answers

Yes Subject Had No Subject Had + Not (hadn’t)
Yes, I had. No, I hadn’t.
Yes, he had. No, he hadn’t.
Yes, they had. No, they hadn’t.
   

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Information Questions

Wh- Word Had Subject Been Verb + ing
Who had you been talking to?
What had she been doing all morning?
When had he been working?
Where had it been snowing?
How had they been traveling?
Why had they been going to Hong Kong?
Who (subject) had been eating my food?
What (subject) had been happening before I arrived?

Present Perfect Progressive – Verb Meaning and Use

present-perfect-cont GraphcThis post will show you how to use the Present Perfect Progressive. To see how to form the Present Perfect Progressive, click here.

The Present Perfect Progressive, also called the Present Perfect Continuous, is used with continuing activities. We often use since and for with this verb tense.

  • My English has been improving lately.
  • have been living in Vancouver for six months.
  • They have been studying English since January.
  • It has been raining since Monday.
  • She has not (hasn’tbeen exercising since she hurt her back.
  • How long have you been going to the new Conversation Club for?
  • Who have you been talking to for hours?

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The Present Perfect Progressive is also used for activities that were in progress, but have just ended.

  • It’s finally done! I’ve been writing this essay all month!
  • He has been working all day so he is very tired.
  • You have been sleeping for ten hours!

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We also use the Present Perfect Progressive to make excuses with an apology.

  • I’m sorry I haven’t called you, I haven’t been feeling well lately.
  • I’m sorry I didn’t go grocery shopping, I have been working too much these days.

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Some common verbs can be used in the Present Perfect or the Present Perfect Progressive with no difference in meaning. Some of these verbs are live, teach, wear, work, study, stay, and feel.

  • Mr. Rodriguez has lived here since 2010.
  • Mr. Rodriguez has been living here for three years.
  • He has taught Spanish for a long time.
  • He has been teaching Spanish for a long time.
  • He has worn the same jacket for years.
  • He has been wearing the same jacket for years.

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Sometimes, using the Progressive tense can show a more intense feeling.

  • I’ve waited for an hour.
  • I’ve been waiting for an hour. (I am very annoyed)
  •  I’ve thought about this for days.
  • I’ve been thinking about this for days. (I can’t stop thinking about it)

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While the Present Perfect can express a completed activity that may or may not have been recent, the Present Perfect Progressive shows that an activity is continuing up to the present time, or was very recently completed.

  • I’ve read a book about psychology. (I finished it at some indefinite time in the past)
  • I’ve been reading a book about psychology. (I’m not finished. Or I’ve just finished it)

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Usually, we do not use the Present Perfect Continuous when we say how many times an activity has been repeated.

✔ I’ve watered the garden three times.

✘ I’ve been watering the garden three times.

Present Perfect Progressive – Verb Forms

This post will show you how to form the Present Perfect Progressive. To see how to use the Present Perfect Progressive, click here.

With the Present Perfect Progressive, also called the Present Perfect Continuous, there are  are two auxiliary verbs “have” or “has”, and “been” plus the main verb in its  “-ing” form.

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Affirmative Statements

Subject Have/Has Been Verb+ing
I have been studying all week.
You have been sitting at the back of the class.
She/He/It has been exercising at the gym.
We have been trying to call the doctor
They/You (plural) have been reading that book too.
     

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Negative Statements

Subject Have/Has Not Been Verb-ing
I have not been studying very hard.
You have not been playing soccer these days.
She/He/It has not been raining all day.
We have not been experiencing any problems.
They/You (plural) have not been eating at home lately.

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Yes/No questions

Have/Has Subject Been Verb-ing
Have I been working for an hour already?
Have you been waiting long?
Has she/he/it been getting enough sleep?
Have we been driving in the wrong direction?
Have they/you (plural) been lying to us all this time?

Short Answers

Yes Subject + Be
Yes, I am.
Yes, you are.
Yes, he/she/it is.
Yes, we are.
Yes, they/you (plural) are.
No Subject + Be + Not
No, I’m not.
No, you’re not.
No, he/she/it isn’t.
No, we aren’t.
No, they/you (plural) aren’t.

We do not use contractions with short affirmative answers.

✔ Yes, I am.

✘ Yes, I’m

✔ Yes, you are.

✘ Yes, you’re.

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Information questions

Wh-Word Have/Has Subject Been Verb-ing
What have I been waiting for?
Who have you been talking to?
Where has she been going after school?
Why have we been skipping school?
How have they been doing?