Tense is a topic that you must prepare very carefully, to score well on the GMAT sentence correction. It is particularly important to pay close attention to the perfect tense forms. While the simple tense forms are far more common, on the GMAT, the perfect tense forms pose a unique challenge. The perfect tense is only used under certain peculiar circumstances, making it difficult to identify exactly where it has been applied appropriately and inappropriately. In this short article, we will cover the form and use of one particular form of the perfect tense, the perfect continuous tense.
Present Perfect Continuous Tense
We will begin by taking a look at the form of the present perfect continuous tense. The use of this tense is marked by the helping verb "has been", in the case of singular subjects and "has been", in the case of plural subjects. This tense is used for events that began in the past and continue into the present. Let us illustrate this concept through the following example.
Example 1 - Since June last year, Jack has been learning to play guitar.
In Example 1, there is an ongoing event "Jack has been learning to play guitar" that we are informed began at a fixed point in the past "June last year". Thus we can say that the present perfect continuous tense is the correct tense to apply here, as the sentence refers to an event that began in the past but continues in the present.
Another use of the present perfect continuous tense is to indicate events whose time frame is not definite. Once again, we will illustrate this concept, through an example:
Example 2 - John has been to Canberra.
This sentence describes an event, John going to Canberra, but does not ascribe any definite time period that it occurred in. Thus, the present perfect continuous tense can be used here.
This article has deliberately been kept brief; for a more elaborate explanation, please refer to Experts' Global's Stage One Sentence Correction videos.