How to improve Present Perfect Continuous Tense in Primary English Tuition

How to Improve Present Perfect Continuous Tense in Primary English Tuition


  • Understanding the basics of Present Perfect Continuous Tense
  • Employing interactive teaching methods
  • Utilizing resources and tools
  • Consistent practice and preparation
  • Identifying and overcoming challenges

Understanding the Basics

Before diving into strategies on how to improve, it’s important to understand what Present Perfect Continuous Tense is. This tense is used to talk about actions that began in the past and are still going on now, or just stopped recently. For example, “She has been reading for two hours.”For primary learners, the understanding of this tense forms a critical part of their English proficiency.

SubjectHas/Have beenVerb+ingTime ReferenceFull Sentence
Ihave beenrunningfor 20 minutesI have been running for 20 minutes
Youhave beenstudyingsince 3pmYou have been studying since 3pm
Hehas beencookingfor two hoursHe has been cooking for two hours
Shehas beensingingsince morningShe has been singing since morning
Wehave beenwaitingfor 30 minutesWe have been waiting for 30 minutes
Theyhave beenworkingsince 9amThey have been working since 9am
Ithas beenrainingfor three daysIt has been raining for three days
The childrenhave beenplayingfor an hourThe children have been playing for an hour
The doghas beenbarkingsince noonThe dog has been barking since noon
Ihave beenreadingsince breakfastI have been reading since breakfast
The teachershave beenteachingfor five yearsThe teachers have been teaching for five years
The studentshave beenlearningsince JanuaryThe students have been learning since January
Youhave beenswimmingfor 45 minutesYou have been swimming for 45 minutes
The gardenerhas beenplantingsince morningThe gardener has been planting since morning
The mechanichas beenrepairingfor two hoursThe mechanic has been repairing for two hours
Shehas beendancingsince she was fiveShe has been dancing since she was five
Hehas beenwritingfor several hoursHe has been writing for several hours
The birdshave beenchirpingsince dawnThe birds have been chirping since dawn
The construction workershave beenbuildingfor six monthsThe construction workers have been building for six months
The trainhas beenrunningsince the 1950sThe train has been running since the 1950s
Ihave beenlearningfor two yearsI have been learning for two years
Youhave beenpracticingsince last weekYou have been practicing since last week
The artisthas beenpaintingfor several hoursThe artist has been painting for several hours
The bakerhas beenbakingsince early morningThe baker has been baking since early morning
Wehave beencelebratingfor two daysWe have been celebrating for two days

Understanding the Present Perfect Continuous Tense

The Present Perfect Continuous Tense is used to describe an action that started in the past and continues to the present time, or has just recently stopped. It expresses the idea that something started in the past and is still happening, or has a connection to the present moment. The structure of this tense is typically as follows: Subject + has/have been + Verb(ing) + time reference.

Using the Table for Teaching

The provided table is an excellent visual aid to assist learners in understanding the Present Perfect Continuous Tense. Here’s how to use it:

Step 1: Introduce the Tense

First, explain the structure and usage of the Present Perfect Continuous Tense. Give examples to illustrate its use, for instance, “I have been studying for three hours” or “She has been singing since morning”.

Step 2: Demonstrate the Table Structure

Show students the table and explain how it is divided into different columns representing each part of the sentence structure: subject, has/have been, verb(ing), time reference, and full sentence.

Step 3: Walk Through Examples

Go through the examples in the table one by one. Show how the full sentence is formed by combining the individual parts from each column.For instance, if we take the first row: “I”, “have been”, “running”, “for 20 minutes”. Combine these parts together to form the full sentence: “I have been running for 20 minutes.”

Step 4: Practice With More Examples

After explaining a few examples, encourage students to construct sentences using the table. They can pick a subject, choose the correct form of ‘to be’, add an action verb in the continuous form, and then a time reference. This will allow them to form full sentences in the Present Perfect Continuous Tense.

Step 5: Apply Outside the Table

Once students become comfortable with the table, encourage them to create their own sentences in the Present Perfect Continuous Tense without using it. This will help them to internalize the sentence structure and use it more naturally. In conclusion, the Present Perfect Continuous Tense table is a powerful teaching tool that breaks down the tense structure in an easy-to-understand format, and provides a wealth of examples for students to learn from and practice with.

Interactive Teaching Methods to Improve Understanding

An interactive teaching approach, such as games and activities, can make grammar lessons more engaging and effective. Role-plays can help students understand the concept of duration in a real-world context. For example, a student can play the role of someone who “has been painting a picture for three hours.”Online platforms like Kahoot! and Quizziz also offer many interactive grammar quizzes that can be used to practice the Present Perfect Continuous Tense.

Utilizing Resources and Tools

In the digital age, a wealth of resources and tools can be found to aid English tuition. Websites like BBC Bitesize offer easy-to-understand lessons and practice exercises for various grammar topics, including the Present Perfect Continuous Tense.Apps such as Duolingo and Grammarly can provide personalized lessons and immediate feedback, helping students to improve their usage of this tense.

All you need to know about Verbs:

All you need to know about tenses:

Consistent Practice and Preparation

Consistency is key when it comes to mastering any aspect of language. Regular practice using the Present Perfect Continuous Tense in both written and spoken English is essential. This can be achieved through routine writing assignments and speech practices that require the use of this specific tense.Preparation for mastering this tense can also involve practice tests, which can provide a good gauge of a student’s understanding and proficiency. Websites like Cambridge English provide practice tests for various English grammar topics.

Identifying and Overcoming Challenges

Students may encounter various challenges when learning the Present Perfect Continuous Tense. Some common issues include confusion with other tenses and difficulties understanding the concept of ongoing actions.To overcome these challenges, it’s important to address each issue individually, using clear examples and comparisons. For instance, comparing the Present Perfect Continuous Tense with the Simple Past can help clarify their differences.Additionally, providing clear, concise explanations and plenty of practice opportunities can help students grasp this complex tense. Websites like English Club offer useful tips and strategies to tackle common grammar challenges.


Improving proficiency in the Present Perfect Continuous Tense in primary English tuition is a combination of understanding the basics, using interactive teaching methods, harnessing digital resources and tools, and consistent practice. By understanding and addressing the common challenges students face, they can achieve mastery in this critical aspect of English grammar.

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