Main Difference – Present Perfect vs Present Perfect Continuous
The main difference between present perfect and present perfect continuous is that present perfect indicates that the action is completed whereas present perfect continuous indicates that the action is still going on.
What is Present Perfect
Present perfect indicates that an action is completed. It is formed by adding “has” or “have” to the past participle of the verb.
‘has’ or ‘have’ + past participle
She has eaten.
They have eaten.
Present perfect is used in a sentence when there is a connection between the past and the present. It is particularly used with actions that began in the past and still continue to the present. For example,
He has acted in ten films.
The above sentence indicates that he started acting in films at some time in the past. So far, he has acted in 10 films, but he may do more films in the future, i.e. he is still in the acting profession.
As mentioned above, present perfect gives the idea of completion. It focuses on the result of something that happened.
He has sent me a letter.
I’ve watched this movie.
I’ve only done half of the work.
As in the last example, present perfect can be also used to indicate how much of an action is completed.
What is Present Perfect Continuous
Present Perfect Continuous or Present Perfect Progressive tense can be used with actions that began in the past. It can be used for actions that began in the past and continue to the present or actions that began in the past but have now finished. (Recently)
Jennifer has been looking for an opportunity to study abroad.
Jennifer might still be looking for an opportunity or she might have found one. This cannot be clearly understood from the sentence. Nevertheless, this information is just setting the scene for some more information about Jennifer’s present situation.
Jennifer has been looking for an opportunity to study abroad. She is still applying for different scholarship programmes.
Jennifer has been looking for an opportunity to study abroad. After years of hard work, she finally got selected for a scholarship programme.
Present perfect continuous is formed by adding “has been” or “have been” to the present participle of the verb.
‘Has been’ or ‘have been’ + present participle
He has been reading.
They have been reading.
We often use present perfect tense to talk about unfinished actions. This tense focuses on the action rather than the result.
He has been studying for this exam for five months.
As illustrated in the above example, present perfect also indicates for how long an action has been happening. In addition, it can also be used to indicate a temporary action.
I work in Paris, but I’ve been working in Nice for the last few days.
Difference Between Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous
Present Perfect is used with completed actions.
Present Perfect Continuous is used with ongoing actions.
Present Perfect focuses on the end result of the action.
Present Perfect Continuous focuses on the action itself.
Present Perfect is formed by adding “has” or “have” to the past participle.
Present Perfect Continuous is formed by adding “has been” or “have been” to the present participle.
Present Perfect cannot be used for temporary actions.
Present Perfect Continuous can be used for temporary actions.
Present Perfect indicates how much/many have been completed.
Present Perfect Continuous indicates how long something has been happening.