Simple Present - Present Perfect Progressive

Introduction

We use the simple present for general statements about the present and for actions that take place regularly in the present. With the present perfect progressive, we express how long an action has been taking place.

Differentiating between these two usages is often complicated, since they are both forms of the present tense.

Example

Helen, you have been cycling for three hours and you are not tired. How often do you cycle?

I cycle almost every day. On my fourth birthday, my grandparents gave me a bike. I have been cycling since then.

Usage

Simple PresentPresent Perfect Progressive
when/how often
Example:
How often do you cycle?
I cycle almost every day.

how long/since when

Example:
How long have you been cycling?
You have been cycling for three hours.
I have been cycling since then.

Signal Words

Simple PresentPresent Perfect Progressive
  • how often
  • ... times
  • how long
  • since
  • for

To Note

The signal words for the simple present are the same as those for the present perfect simple. In the case of the simple present, however, we want to know how often an action in the present takes place (not how often it has taken place up to this point).

Example:
I cycle three times per week. (simple present)
I have only cycled three times in my life. (present perfect simple)

Construction

For information on the construction of these two tenses, see:

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