You see your friend rather chubbier than the last time you met him. You guess that he started eating pizza a few months ago and kept doing that until now.

Is it correct to say "he must have been eating a lot of pizza lately, mustn't he" to guess his action of eating pizza started from a point of time in the past and have continuously progressed to now?

2 Answers 2


He must have been eating a lot of pizza lately, mustn't he?

This sentence along with its question tag and question mark is perfectly acceptable, and grammatical. The Present Perfect Continuous tense is also used for actions that happened in the past and are repeated in the present, the action needn't be continuous, it may be interrupted or restart again.

For example, I have been marking essays since 9 o'clock this morning. If the statement is uttered at 5 o'clock in the afternoon, it doesn't necessarily mean the speaker didn't take any breaks between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

She has been taking the train to work since she sold her car

The action of travelling by train is repeated but it is not continuous.

In any case, the explanation for a person's noticeable weight gain could depend on multiple factors, not only eating too many pizzas. Barring serious metabolism and thyroid issues, the most common reason for putting on weight is plain and simple overeating and lack of exercise.

He must be eating too much, mustn't he? (a general fact)
He must have been eating a lot recently.
(a repeated action that began in the past and persists in the present)


It doesn't exactly mean that he has been continuously eating - it would be assumed he has eaten other things too, and at intervals, eg mealtimes. By saying "have been" and "lately" you are confining the activity to the past. For example, if you said "I've have been skiing on vacation" that doesn't mean you are still skiing because the vacation has ended.

"He must have been eating a lot of pizza lately" suggests that the person has regularly eaten a lot of pizza recently. You are linking his current appearance with his past actions.

If you want to explicitly state the belief that he is still eating a lot of pizza, you would say:

He must be eating a lot of pizza.

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