TWO CLOSE TENSES
English students often have problems with two very close tenses, present continuous and present perfect continuous. Both of them explain an activity for the present time but where is the difference that makes us understood when and how to use them. The following explanations and examples can help you.
This tense is used for an activity that is in the process right now. The formation of the tense is verb to be+ing
I am writing a letter right now.
They are speaking English.
She is eating lunch.
We are listening to music.
All these sentences are explaining actions that are in the process and happening at the present time.
Present perfect continuous
This tense has a connection with past time. Something that has started in the past and it is still continuing at the present time, it is not finished yet.
The formation of it has/has+been+ing
I have been waiting here for two hours.
She has been running for half an hour.
We have been looking all over for the lost dog.
He has been teaching us English for three years.
All actions in above examples have been started somewhere in the past and it is continuing to the present time. The difference between the two tenses is the connection.
If an action doesn’t have any link to past time and is just happening right now then use present continuous and if the action has started somewhere in the past and it is in the process now then use present perfect continuous.
I am eating lunch. ( it means the action “eating” is in process now, we don’t care about when the eating started in the past, we are interested only in the action of eating that is right now) NOT: I have been eating lunch. ( if this tense is used when the listener is interested in knowing when the eating has been started for a reason.)
Hope these explanations help you with the two tenses.