Can I use the verb be in present perfect continuous tense or it is always stative?
Are there any exceptions?

1 Answer 1


Be has a slightly different meaning in continuous constructions: it means approximately behave:

He's a jerk. (he is a jerk all the time)
He's being a jerk. (he's behaving like a jerk right now)

There's no reason you can't employ this continuous sense in a present perfect construction:

He's been being a jerk ever since we got here.

However, you are more likely to encounter the same sense in an ordinary present perfect construction:

He's been a jerk ever since we got here.

The two perfect versions both have essentially the same meaning, because just like the present continuous they mark the state of jerkhood as temporary, and by inference a matter of current behavior rather than permanent character.

  • We can add the continuous passive to this list, can't we? "She's been being ignored for six years now."
    – user230
    Mar 12, 2013 at 11:08
  • @snailplane Good point. And there of course it has yet another 'meaning', as an auxiliary. Mar 12, 2013 at 11:28
  • I disagree about the "more likely" claim you've made. I would have said that it's the other way around, but they have different meanings, so it depends on what you want to say. With "being", it implies that he is acting like a jerk, but isn't actually a jerk, whereas without "being", I get the impression that he has become a jerk. Using "being" (to me, at least), emphasizes the temporariness.
    – yoozer8
    Mar 12, 2013 at 13:15

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