Be used to
Few and Little
Get Used To
Have and Have Got
Lend and Borrow
Past Perfect Continuous
Past Perfect Simple
Present Perfect Continuous
Present Perfect Simple
Say and Tell
Small and Little
So and Such
Too and Enough
Will and Going to
Affirmative: have/has been + present participle (verb + ing)
Negative: haven't/hasn't been + present participle (verb + ing)
(See the phonemic chart for IPA symbols used below)
I usually draw a time line on
the board about something I started doing in the past and on the other end I
write now, then I present the sentence. for example:
I started working here in 2004, I am working here now.
I have been working here for 2 years.
Then I have the students try to form sentences using the structure.
Any effective exercise which
emphasises the time elapsed between the action starting and continuing in the
present. I use a clock which can be easily adjusted. On the board I write:
It's 4pm now - cooking
I set the time on the clock to 2pm and say:
I started cooking at this time, how long have I been cooking?
I use as many examples of verb and time settings as I think necessary. This can also incorporate the functions of 'since' (point in time in the past) and 'for' (length of time from beginning to continuation.
I tried an enjoyable activity
which I can recommend. Put the students in a group and tell them to form a
circle. They will make guesses about the student on their left:
"I think you have been wearing that bracelet for 1 week."
and the student answers:
"No, I have been wearing it for 2 days." and so on.
You can also encourage them to use "how long..." questions. Try it and let me know your ideas :)
Show pictures of people to students and get them to think of ideas of what that person has been doing. The students need to form sentences using the present perfect continuous.
You can also try the song In the shadows - by the Rasmus.
I introduce the present perfect continuous with a conversation, between two characters students like: famous people, cartoon characters, etc. Then I ask some questions about the conversation (e.g. How long has Harry Potter been playing quidditch? Ss infer the rules by themselves... then we can open their books and look at the rule in detail.
I show two pictures. Pic 1 shows John walking to school and pic 2 shows Matthew walking to school but he started at 7.30am and at 8.30 he has not yet reached school. Then I say... "Matthew has been walking to school for an hour". That means he started walking in the past and has not reached school in the present. Whereas in pic 1 John is going to school and the time is not mentioned. Right now he is walking. So we use only present continuous. I think this way of comparing and contrasting helps the students.
After entering the classroom, I tell my students to check the time. After that, I start walking around the class. Students look surprised and they start commenting but I don't say anything. I do this for a few minutes and then, while walking I ask "How long have i been walking?"...
Downloadable grammar worksheets and activities
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