Present Perfect Continuous ESL Activities, Games and Worksheets

What have I been doing?

ESL Present Perfect Continuous Game - Miming and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 30 minutes

In this free present perfect continuous game, students take it in turns to do a mime and other students guess what the person has been doing. Divide the students into two teams (A and B). A student from Team A comes to the front of the class. Give the student a mime card. The student asks the class, “What have I been doing?” The student then has two minutes to mime the sentence on the card to his or her team. During these two minutes, the members of Team A can ask the student questions about what he or she has been doing to which the student can nod yes or no. If Team A guesses the sentence in the allotted time, they score two points. If they don’t guess the sentence or time runs out, it is Team B's turn to answer. If Team B guesses correctly, they score one point. A student from Team B then comes to the front of the class and the game continues in the same way. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
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What have they been doing?

ESL Present Perfect Continuous Activity - Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 20 minutes

In this engaging present perfect continuous speaking activity, students use picture cards to ask and answer questions in the present perfect continuous tense. Give each pair of students a set of picture cards, which they shuffle and place face down in a pile on the desk. Students then take it in turns to pick up a picture card, show it to their partner and ask what the person or people in the picture have been doing, i.e. 'What has he/she been doing?' or 'What have they been doing? Their partner then answers the question by making a sentence in the present perfect continuous, e.g. 'He has been reading a book.' The students continue taking it in turns to ask and answer questions in the present perfect continuous until all the picture cards have been used. When the students have finished, they write the sentences on the board and the answers are checked.
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Have you been...?

ESL Present Perfect Continuous Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

In this present perfect continuous speaking activity, students practice asking and answering questions using the present perfect continuous. Divide the students into pairs (A and B) and give each student a corresponding worksheet. The students begin by writing short answers for the items on the worksheet in a random order in speech bubbles. When the students have finished, they swap worksheets with their partner. Students then take it in turns to choose an answer from one of their partner's speech bubbles and ask present perfect continuous 'Have you been...?' questions to find out what the answer refers to. For example, if a student wrote the answer 'seven o'clock' in one of the speech bubbles, their partner might ask 'Have you been waking up at seven o'clock recently?' The student replies 'Yes, I have' or 'No, I haven't' accordingly. When a partner asks the right question, the student explains their answer, e.g. 'Yes, I have. I've been waking up at seven o'clock because I go jogging in the park before school, etc...' After the student has explained the answer and it's been discussed, their partner puts a tick next to the bubble and the students swap roles. At the end of the activity, students report back to the class on the most interesting things they found out about their partner.
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Present Perfect Continuous Review

ESL Present Perfect Continuous Worksheet - Reading, Matching and Writing Activity - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

In this present perfect continuous worksheet, students review the uses of the present perfect continuous tense and identify how it is different from the present perfect simple. Give a copy of the two-page worksheet to each student. Students begin by matching sentence halves together to make present perfect continuous sentences. Next, students read a set of sentences and underline the correct perfect tense in each one. Students then complete a grammar explanation on the difference between the present perfect simple and the present perfect continuous based on what they've learned. After that, students use verbs from a box to write present perfect continuous sentences to explain the present conditions expressed in the prompts. Finally, students use prompts to write what each person usually does versus what they have been doing recently. In this exercise, students practice using the present perfect continuous to express a recent or temporary change in someone's routine.
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Interactive Version - In this present perfect continuous interactive worksheet, students revise the various uses of the present perfect continuous tense and how it is different from the present perfect simple.

 

What have you been doing recently?

ESL Present Perfect Continuous Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

In this present perfect continuous activity, students conduct a survey on recent activities and actions to practice the tense. This activity also helps to teach students about time expressions used with the present perfect continuous. Give each student a copy of the worksheet. The students begin by going through the items on the worksheet and preparing present perfect continuous questions for the survey. When the students have finished, they move around the classroom asking and answering questions about their recent activities and actions, e.g. 'Have you been working hard recently?' When a classmate answers 'Yes, I have' to a question, the other student writes down their name and asks a follow-up question or two. The students then move on to speak to someone else. When everyone has finished, students give feedback by sharing and discussing any interesting findings with the class.
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Interactive Version - In this present perfect continuous breakout room activity, pairs of students interview each other on recent activities and actions using the present perfect continuous.

 

What do you think they have been doing?

ESL Present Perfect Continuous Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Intermediate (B1) - 25 minutes

In this present perfect continuous activity, students take on a character role and ask questions to find out what other people have been doing. Divide the students into groups of eight. Give each student in the group a character card and worksheet. The students take on the role of the person on their character card and find out what the other people in their group have been doing by asking questions and completing a chart with the information. In order to complete the chart, the students must use the present perfect continuous and ask a total of four questions. Draw the students' attention to the words in bold on their card and elicit the four questions the students need to ask to find out the information. Next, students go around their group asking and answering the questions and noting down the information in their chart. When the students have finished, they look at the information and guess what each person has been doing. The students then complete sentences with their answers using the present perfect continuous. Finally, review the answers with the class.
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Present Perfect Continuous Board Game

ESL Present Perfect Continuous Board Game - Reading, Listening and Speaking - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 30 minutes

In this amusing present perfect continuous game, students practice talking about various topics using the present perfect continuous tense. Give each group of three or four a copy of the game board, a set of true or false cards, a dice and counters. The students shuffle the true or false cards and place them face down in a pile next to the game board. The players then take it in turns to roll the dice and move their counter along the board. When a player lands on a square, they pick up a true or false card from the pile and look at it without showing anyone. The player then talks about the topic on the square using the present perfect continuous tense, giving either true or false information as indicated on the card. When the player has finished talking, the other students guess whether the player's answer is true or false. The player then reveals the answer. The students who guessed correctly each score one point. Then, the next player rolls the dice and so on. When a player reaches the finish, the game ends and the students add up their points. The student with the most points wins the game. This game can also be played without the true or false element. In this version, when a player lands on a square, they talk about the topic on the square for one minute without stopping using the present perfect continuous. If a player can't think of anything to say, makes a grammar mistake or stops talking before the time is up, they move back to their previous square or miss a turn. The first student to reach the finish wins the game.
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What have you been up to?

ESL Present Perfect Continuous Activity - Listening and Speaking - Upper-intermediate (B2) - 30 minutes

This rewarding present perfect continuous activity helps students develop their small talk conversation skills and practice the present perfect continuous tense. Give each pair of students a set of cards, which they shuffle and place face down in a pile on the desk. One student starts the conversation by saying 'Hi..., what have you been up to?' The other student then picks up a card, reads the prompt and replies using the present perfect continuous, e.g. 'I've been busy searching for a new apartment'. The other student then shows interest and asks appropriate follow-up questions to keep the conversation going. When the conversation is over, the students swap roles and make a new conversation with the next card. This process continues until all the cards have been used. Afterwards, pairs take it in turns to act out one of their small talk conversations in front of the class.
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