English as a Second Language/has been tense variation

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QUESTION: Hi AMY..Dev from India.

Please tell me about the 'has been' tenses.

We use -ing form of the verb with has been.

But in the following sentences this rule is not being followed.


1-I know she has been busy
2-She has been ill for 8 months

Are these 2 sentences correct grammatically?
In which are these?

ANSWER: Hello Dev,

the verb tense you have in mind is the Present Perfect Continuous.

We use the Present Perfect Continuous for actions that have started in the past and have continued up until now. In these situations, you need to use expressions like:  "for a few minutes," "for three weeks," "since 1998" etc

They have been talking for a few minutes.
She has been working at that drawing for three weeks.
I have been teaching since 1998.

You can also use the Present Perfect Continuous without a duration, and when that's the case "lately" or "recently" can be used.

I have been feeling tired lately.
Maggie has been spending too much time on her computer recently.
Mary has been feeling a little sick.

Back to your two sentences:

1-I know she has been busy.
2-She has been ill for 8 months.

Both of these use the Present Perfect Tense. The main verb here is "to be".

Other examples along the same lines:

I have been polite when talking to the neighbors.
Misty has been naughty.
My coworker has been rude.
We have been tricked.

I don't understand your last question though. What do you mean by "In which are these?"

Looking forward to more of your questions.

Cheers,



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks Amy....Amy I am close to understand fully what you have taught.
My confusion is that why we are not using -ing after has been.

As the rule says
Subject+has+been+first form of the verb+ing.

but why in  'I have been polite' there is no -ing.

Answer
Hello again Dev,

there are two rules actually:

subject + has + been + main verb + ing (this is for the Present Perfect Continuous - PPC - Tense)

and

subject + has + past participle of the main verb (this is for the Present Perfect Tense)

I have been polite ...

Polite doesn't have an "ing" because it's not a verb, so it can't have an "ing" form. The main verb in the sentence above is "to be" and the past participle of "to be" is "been"

I have been polite when talking to the neighbors. (main verb: to be - been; verb tense - Present Perfect)

similar to

I have tried to call you. (main verb: to try - tried; verb tense - Present Perfect)

She has bought a bunch of books. (main verb: to buy - bought; verb tense - Present Perfect)

vs

They have been talking for a few minutes.  (main verb: to talk - talking, have been - auxiliary verbs used to form the PPC tense)

She has been working at that drawing for three weeks. (main verb: to work - working, have been - auxiliary verbs used to form the PPC tense)

I have been teaching since 1998. (main verb: to teach - teaching, have been - auxiliary verbs used to form the PPC tense)


Your confusion is about "to be" being an auxiliary in forming the Present Perfect Continuous and being a main verb in the Pres Perfect examples I provided.

I hope this helps.  

English as a Second Language

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Amy Baker

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I can answer question about grammar, spelling, syntax, idioms, reading and/or writing that pertain to English as a Second Language. I am knowledgeable about both TOEFL and IELTS.

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I'm a certified ESL teacher with 12 years of experience teaching K-12 and adults.

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BSc MEd TESL post grad program for k-12 TESL post grad program for adult ed

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