Like the present perfect, the present perfect progressive connects the past with the present. However, the main difference between these two tenses is that the progressive tense focuses more on the action or activity of the main verb, while the present perfect presents the sentence more as a fact.
In addition, the present perfect progressive is almost always used with for (to convey duration), since (to convey the beginning of an action), or a phrase that conveys a length of time, such as "all day" or "all morning."
STRUCTURE: To form the present perfect progressive, we use have been or has been + verb+ing (present participle).
(I, You, We, They) HAVE BEEN + (verb)ING
(He, She, It) HAS BEEN + (verb)ING
Here are some examples: 1. We have been studying for 5 hours. Let's take a break. 2. She has been cleaning since she woke up this morning. 3. They have been practicing their lines all day, but she still hasn't memorized them.
The three sentences above are in the present perfect progressive tense and focus on actions that began in the past and continue to the present.
THESE TWO TENSES CAN HAVE THE SAME MESSAGE ... Sometimes, there isn't much difference between the present perfect and the progressive form especially when you use either tense with for or since. In this situation, it mainly depends on whether the speaker wants to convey activity (ing/progressive form) or convey fact (present perfect).
1. We've waited for 45 minutes. (present perfect)
We've been waiting for 45 minutes. (present perfect progressive)
Both of these sentences convey the same message; however, the second one just has a stronger emphasis on the act of waiting.
2. They've lived in this city since 2010. (present perfect)
They've been living here since 2010. (present perfect progressive)
There isn't much difference between these two sentences, either.
HOWEVER, THEY CAN ALSO BE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. Other times, there's a clear difference between the present perfect and the present perfect progressive. In these cases, the present perfect usually does not use for or since, and it usually means that the action is done or has been experienced. The present perfect progressive, however, started in the past and continues to the present.
1. We've already eaten, so we're not hungry. (We've finished eating a meal.)
We've been eating all day, so we're not hungry. (We started eating this morning, and we've continued to eat--probably off and on--until the present.)
2. They've driven across the U.S. (They've experienced this action.)
They've been driving across the U.S. every summer since the kids were little. (They started driving cross country when the kids were small--probably once a year--and continue to do it now.)
CONTINUING ACTION OR JUST STOPPED? Sometimes, depending on the context, the activity in a present perfect progressive sentence may continue or may have recently stopped just before the speaker says the sentence.
We've been cooking since 10 this morning, and we're almost done. (This action is continuing; they are still cooking.)
We're finally finished; I can't believe we've been cooking since 10 this morning. (This action has just stopped.)
The kids have been swimming for 5 straight hours! I can't believe they're not tired yet. (The kids are obviously not done swimming.)
They're going to the locker room to change. They're exhausted; they've been swimming for 5 straight hours! (They have obviously stopped swimming and are now going to the locker room.)
PRACTICING THE PRESENT PERFECT PROGRESSIVE Here are a few ways to practice this tense: 1. Say how long you've been doing something in your life that you enjoy. Use "for" or "since." (I have been practicing karate off and on for 20 years.) 2. Say how long you've been doing something today that you are still doing or you just finished. Also use "for" or "since" (I have been watching movies since I woke up this morning." I hope you found this useful. Practice as much as you can, andgood luck!