Present Perfect Continuous in French

Present Perfect Continuous or Progressive in French:

Video here:

You know that in English, we use this tense to speak about continuous facts or activities which have started in the past and either are continuing in the present or have just ended.
In French, we do not have such a tense, to translate the Present Perfect Continuous we need 2 tenses.

1- Present Perfect Continuous in French: le Passé Composé

the Passé Composé is only for things in the past, so if you want to translate “I have been working all day”, first you need to express if you are still working or not.

You have stopped: J’ai travaillé toute la journée
You are still working: J’ai travaillé toute la journée et ça continue (you need to make clear that you are still working)

It has been snowing all week:
It has stopped: Il a neigé toute la semaine
It is still snowing: Il a neigé toute la semaine et ça continue

2- Present Perfect Continuous in sentences with “for” or “since”: le Présent

It has been snowing since Monday: Il neige depuis lundi

It has been snowing for 5 days:

  1. Il neige depuis 5 jours
  2. Ça fait 5 jours qu’il neige
  3. Il y a 5 jours qu’il neige

I have been learning French since 2001: j’apprends le français depuis 2001

I have been learning French for 9 years:

  1. J’apprends le français depuis 9 ans
  2. Ça fait 9 ans que j’apprends le français
  3. Il y a 9 ans que j’apprends le français

I have been working since 8am: je travaille depuis 8 heures ce matin

I have been working for 8 hours:

  1. Ça fait 8 heures que je travaille
  2. Il y a 8 heures que je travaille
  3. We do not say je travaille depuis 8 heures, it is too confusing, see the video.


3- EXERCISES: (the answer is in the video)

I have been reading all morning and I have just finished my book

He has been watching too much television lately

She has been talking for 2 hours

She has been talking since noun

I have been playing tennis for a long time


ERRATUM: the word “noon” is misspelled in the video, sorry about that!

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10 thoughts on “Present Perfect Continuous in French”

  1. thank you very much for your fantastic site which circulates all-world round disseminating your precious painstaking efforts in educating all interested people, i myself
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  2. C’est une bonne chose!C’est très utile pour apprendre le français..!  Tu as bien fait. Merci bien! Bravo..:)

  3. Your explanation is perfect! But I still have a question on “depuis”~

    As you mentioned, “I have been learning French for 9 years” can be translated as “J’apprends le français depuis 9 ans” in French. But I wonder if this translation may lead to confusion… I mean, does the sentence “J’apprends le français depuis 9 ans” also mean “I have been learning French since 9 years old”?  If there is indeed such confusion, how can we avoid it when we must use the word “depuis” and “an”?

    Thank you very much in advance for your explanation! I’m really looking forward to it 🙂
    Merci beaucoup!


  4. Thankyou, very helpful and instructive when doing my french homework! ” it has been a long time since i have been looking for such a helpful website” 🙂 How would you translate that?
    ERRATUM: your accent is VERY sexy!!

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