How to Use the Present Perfect Continuous for Sports, Artistic Activities, Hobbies, and Jobs

Mini English Lesson on How Long Have You Been Doing Something

When someone asks “How long have you been….?”, they want to know more about skills you have learned after lots of practice, such as sports, artistic activities, hobbies, or even things you do in your job.

The present perfect continuous has several different uses, which I explain in detail here.

Today, we’ll focus specifically on using the present perfect continuous to describe the duration of time you have invested into learning a skill.

Learning how to play a sport, paint or play the guitar, study a language, or develop a skill used in your work can take years of practice and effort!

We use the present perfect continuous to emphasize that your effort began in the past and continues until now.

By using the continuous form of the present perfect, we emphasize the activity and our ongoing work to develop this skill.

Make sure to use the present perfect continuous when describing how long you have been doing a job, hobby, or activity. You deserve recognition for your hard work to learn this skill!

To answer the question, “How long have you been playing the piano?” choose one of the following options:


  • I have been playing the piano for 10 years.
  • I have been playing piano everyday for the past six months.


  • I have been playing the piano since 2008.
  • I have been playing the piano since I was 5 years old.
  • I have been playing the piano since elementary school.

Using the present perfect continuous to describe activities and skills you have learned through practice helps you sound more natural in English.

Your Turn

Now it’s our turn! What is one of your favorite hobbies or sports? How long have you been doing it? Leave a comment below showing your mastery of this question!

Want to use grammar more naturally? Click here to explore my other resources on using grammar structures like a native speaker.

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