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As far as I know, Perfect Continuous tenses aren't used in the Passive Voice. What is typically used instead? What are the correct answers here?

  1. These anatomical terms … since 1970.
    a) are used b) have been used

  2. Blood tests … since 8. You can still have it done.
    a) are done b) are being done c) have been done

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  • Grammatically the answers are discussed below, but the second example doesn't flow. There is no rational connection between when the blood tests started and the fact that "you can still have it done". I'd expect "Blood tests will be offered until 8pm; you can still have it done."
    – James K
    Nov 18, 2022 at 18:54

3 Answers 3

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    • (b)
  1. The logical tense is 'have been being done', but that sounds so clumsy that we would express it in some other way.

Blood tests have been available since 8.00

The clinic has been doing blood tests since 8.00. You can still have one.

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It's an unsatisfactory answer to the greater question, but there just always seems to be a way to reword a sentence to avoid using this structure.

It can be by using different words to replace the passive verb, by making the sentence active, or by dropping the continuous where there's no significant loss of meaning.

Almost every hit in an Internet search for "has been being" is a page about the grammar itself, like this page here is. When you filter those out, you find unprepared speech, like someone posting a question about getting their phone fixed or a journalist quoting a source:

Hey my card has been being charged for apple internet for months and I never signed up.

Source: apple.com

Termite colony the size of Great Britain 'has been being built since the dawn of the Pyramids'

Source: Yahoo.com

Both these sentences could have been reworded:

Hey my card has been charged for apple internet for months and I never signed up. (removed continuous aspect)

Termite colony the size of Great Britain has been under construction since the dawn of the Pyramids (replaced passive verb with equivalent meaning)

Termites have been building colony the size of Great Britain since the dawn of the Pyramids (made the sentence active)

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1.These anatomical terms have been used since 1970. This is a present perfect where you want to signal they are still being done at the present time.

  1. Blood tests are being done since 8:00 am. You can still have it done. This is a straight present continuous passive and refers to the same day, today.

For Kate's "have been being done", that would work for:

These tests have been being done for many years.

Perfect continuous passives are sometimes used when they are relevant.

  • These administrative tasks have been being done incorrectly for the past two months. Why don't you do something about it? :)
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  • 1
    "Blood tests are being done since 8:00 am" I would call this at best awkward, and probably simply wrong The expression "are being done since" combines present (are) and past (since.) in an unnatural way. Nov 18, 2022 at 16:38
  • @DavidSiegel If the day has not yet ended, the person at the counter says to the patient:[The] Blood tests are being done today since this morning at 8:00 am". The alternative is: have been being done, which may be better grammar but above some people's pay grade. The tests are being conducted since this morning. Works for me.
    – Lambie
    Nov 18, 2022 at 16:50
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    Some people might say that, but I suspect most would think it awkward at best. Perhaps;s "The blood tests have been conducted here since 8:00, and still are in progress" Not the world's best sentence, but then it is a slightly awkward situation. Possibly better: "The blood tests are still going on. They have been since 8:00." Nov 18, 2022 at 16:57
  • @DavidSiegel The point is the OP's sentence. Of all the choices, the only conceivable one is "are being done" if spoken in the present to a person. It's definitely a squeaker.
    – Lambie
    Nov 18, 2022 at 19:21

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