Present perfect continuous

1). The present perfect describes actions that started in the past and are now in the present, but haven't stopped:

Tottenham have been playing very well these last 5 minutes; Tom has been writing a lot of Chinese characters recently; she has been playing hockey all day

The present perfect continuous describes something then that's changed over a time period.

Let's take GDP growth as an example:

In this example then, GDP has been increasing gradually over the last few months, so the present perfect continuous can summarise complicated (or simple) changes over a given period.

2). We often use present perfect continuous to ask about what someone has been doing with their time up until the moment we saw them:

Josh, have you been playing computer games a lot recently? Yes I’ve been playing computer games a lot recently

3). Or to express repeated actions over a time period:

I’ve been going to the gym often recently; she’s been taking up cooking classes

The speaker is expressing that the actions were done intermittently over the time period.

4). Whereas the present perfect talks more about the completed action, the present perfect continuous describes the action that started in the past yet is still occurring in the present:

In the above example, the person has been cleaning their room all day. They’ll continue to clean their room but we don’t know when they’ll stop (hence the squiggly line). Compare the above sentence with the below:

In this example, though, the person has already finished cleaning their room, so the present perfect is used.

Another difference between the present perfect continuous and present perfect, is the present perfect continuous is used to talk about actions that have been happening recently whereas the present perfect is better at describing actions that have been true for a long period of time. Compare:

5). Some words that are often used with the present perfect continuous are: recently, since, for, this week, last year, last month, often, frequently etc.

I’ve been working here for 10 years; Have you been going to the gym this week?; I haven’t been playing football as often as I’d like