ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Writing Tenses: Prompts for Present Continuous and Present Prefect Continuous

Updated on November 20, 2012

Why Hello There! And What Brings You To This God-Forsaken Desert?


As requested! A Spotlight on Present Continuous and Present Perfect Continuous

For those of you just tuning in, I've offered to share materials and lessons I've developed over the last few years of teaching English as a foreign language. If you have any requests, please leave a message in the comments section with a note about the question and general language level needed.

This one, however, will focus on exploring the subtle differences between the Present Continuous (am/is/are + verb-ing) and Present Perfect Continuous (has/have been + verb-ing) through the writing prompt I mentioned here, and other examples.

Hi there! How have you been?
Hi there! How have you been? | Source

First Situation

You run into an old friend on the street; you haven't seen each other for years! Write a dialogue in which you two get reacquainted.

What kind of information can you give using the present continuous? (am/is/are + verb-ing)

  • What you are currently doing in the present. Can continue into the future, but doesn't have to. For example: "I am running errands" or "I am going to my sister's graduation ceremony."
  • Note that while technically you are in the middle of both of these actions (running errands and going to your sister's graduation), the graduation is actually in the future. Although admittedly it's the "near future".
  • If you add a specific time, you can stretch something out into the not-so-near future. For example: "I am retiring next year." For things much farther in the future, you can say "I will be retiring in the coming year."

What kind of information can you give using the present perfect continuous? (has/had/have been + verb-ing)

  • Something that you are doing now but which began in the past. For example "I have been writing a novel."
  • If you want to, you can be specific: "I have been writing a novel for the last few months/since last March."
  • If you are NOT specific, then your audience will assume a duration based on the task. For example: "She has been hopping on one leg" (for a very short time) or "She has been thinking about trying out for a part in the school play" (for a few years, since her sophomore year, etc.)

Model Dialogue

A - Hey! How have you been? I haven't seen you since last Christmas. What are you up to?

B - It surely has been a long time. Well, I am working on a screenplay, but I have been having trouble with the character development. Since then I have been thinking about branching out into non-fiction. What about you? What have you been doing?

A - I'm sorry to hear about the difficulty you've been having. I think you should definitely take a break and try something new. I am thinking about moving in with my boyfriend. He has been asking me to move in for a couple months.

B - How exciting! Moving in would help you save money, and we all know how important that is in this economy...

Keep Going

Think carefully about the difference in the situations described by the two different tenses, and the two tenses together.

If you have trouble, try to "diagram" the situation. Draw a line, mark the present, and then see if you can figure out what parts of the timeline are included in the example.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • pen promulgates profile image

      Imran Khan 

      17 months ago from Mumbai, India

      Hey mistakenly posted the second comment. It was for a new Hubber struggling to clear QAP. Please ignore :)

    • pen promulgates profile image

      Imran Khan 

      17 months ago from Mumbai, India

      Also, follow Hubbers like theraggededge and Marisa Wright. Read their hubs. They have useful advice for everybody. Good luck with your venture :)

    • pen promulgates profile image

      Imran Khan 

      17 months ago from Mumbai, India

      Quite helpful. Thanks Dorothy.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)