TeachingEnglish
Present Perfect Continuous and the Passive Voice

Is it possible to use the present perfect continuous in the passive voice ?
If yes, then support your answer with examples plz.
Thanks

Ridha Abdellaoui's picture
Ridha Abdellaoui

Hello TeachingBoukhari!
Theoretically, all the English Tenses can be used in the Passive form. The Present Perfect Continuous is no exception.
      e.g. The wife has been awaiting her husband at the airport for six hours. (Active)
         The husband has been (being) awaited... (Passive)
Note here that I put the participle "being" between parentheses to show you that we can omit it without affecting the meaning and / or the scope behind which we use the Present Perfect Continuous. The omission of the participle "being" is not ungrammatical. On the contrary it is better in most cases, if not all. 
There is a matter of "taste" / habit. In many cases some tenses are better used in the simple form than in the progressive.
This is what we call INTERCHANGEABILITY of tenses. For more about the interchangeability of tenses , read my comment on the Past Perfect-Past Simple dilemma following this web link:
http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/forum-topic/past-perfect-past-simple-dilemma
For further explanations concerning the Present Pefect Progressive and the Passive Voice, follow:
1) http://bouteiller.wordpress.com/2008/05/06/how-to-conjugate-present-perfect-continuous-in-passive-voice/#comments
2) http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=431819
3) http://www.englishforums.com/English/PresentPerfectProgressiveTense-PassiveVoice/dnhjn/post.htm

rhunt's picture
rhunt

These examples remind me of Henry Sweet who at the end of the 19th century was taught 'The philosopher pulled the lower jaw of the hen' in Greek. Partly as a result of this ridiculously unnatural language the reform movement arose and we had descriptive rather than prescriptive grammar. I think examples such as 'The husband has been being awaited' are just as unlikely as the philosopher quote. It is not important whether or not something is grammatically feasible; what is important is if it is ever likely to exist in real language use. For example, 'A shirt was bought by me yesterday' doesn't break any rules of grammar, but is absolute rubbish in real life. I recommend Ron Carter and Mike McCathy's Cambridge Grammar of English for examples of REAL English.

Marisa Constantinides's picture
Marisa Constant...

 No. It simply isn't used. But I do know that the information in the previous response is still included in some very old-fashioned, 'pre-corpus' era grammars, for sure.... sadly still read and believed by many learners and teachers alike.  And the Passive is not another way to say the same things you say using the active voice. There are stylistic and discourse reasons why a user opts for one or the other voice.  This structure is a classic example of what is called formally possible, but never actually performed - which means that no native speaker, educated or not would ever  use it. More quoted from Dell Hymes' famous article "On Communicative Competence", 1973, in which he mentions grammatical competence as only one aspect of communicative competence. He lists awareness of the following as preconditions for this competence. To be grammatically competent, you need to know .... 1) whether (and to what degree) something is formally possible; 2) whether (and to what degree) something is feasible in virtue of the means of implementation available;  3) whether (and to what degree) something is feasible in virtue of the means of implementation available;  4) whether (and to what degree) something is in fact done, actually performed, and what its doing entails.  His other famous quote from this article is  “there are rules of use without which the rules of grammar would be useless.” 

Ridha Abdellaoui's picture
Ridha Abdellaoui

Hello Rhunt!
Thank you for commenting on my comment on the possibility of using ThePresent Perfect Progressive. Here I post a comment on yours. Please note the following:
        Either you did not read the whole comment or did not understand it at all.
First,  the main question, Submitted by TeachingBoukhari on 13 February, 2010 - 02:47, was as follows:
                 Is it possible to use the present perfect continuous in the passive voice ?
So, he asked ONLY about the POSSIBILITY, then asked for examplification. Thus my answer was VERY CLEAR:
        "Theoretically, all the English Tenses can be used in the Passive form. The Present Perfect Continuous is  no exception."
Second, for the sake of clarity I gave him the following examples:
           e.g. The wife has been awaiting her husband at the airport for six hours. (Active)
                  The husband has been (being) awaited... (Passive)
Then I added:
   The omission of the participle "being" is not ungrammatical. Here again, I insisted on the OMISSION of the participle "being" by putting it between parentheses and saying:
                          "On the contrary it is BETTER in most cases, IF NOT ALL ."
Then I concluded:
        There is a matter of "taste" / habit.
This is EXACTLY what you gently, in your comment, stated:
  "what is important is if it is ever likely to exist in real language use."
I pointed to that with" taste / habit". Your sentence is better than mine but has the same connotation. We both pointed to the same goal but differently.
Third, you wrote:
     "I think examples such as 'The husband has been being awaited' are just as unlikely as the philosopher quote."
Let me, please,  say that there is NO RESEMBLANCE at all between those examples and mine for the scopes are different. You, also, didn't respect my sentence, when quoting, as I put the participle between parentheses then INSISTED on the omission of "being".
Fourth, you concluded:
   "For example, 'A shirt was bought by me yesterday' doesn't break any rules of grammar, but is absolute rubbish in real life. "
So, what do you think of the following newspaper article:
       " A husband was killed by his wife yesterday?"
Is it  also an  "absolute rubbish in real life"? Does it remind you of renaissance, , medieval, or primitive examples? or even examples of the Ice age??
Finally, I honestly appreciate your point of view and, heartedly, thank you a lot for that.
With all my respect in advance.
 

Ridha Abdellaoui's picture
Ridha Abdellaoui

Hello, Marisa!
Thank you for your comment on my reply to the question Submitted by TeachingBoukhari on 13 February, 2010 - 02:47. 
Please note that the article was not written about " The Present Continuous in Passive", as you entitled your reply, but about "THE PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS" So, please read my reply to: rhunt!
with my thanks and respect.

Artem Ivantsov's picture
Artem Ivantsov

Hi,You can't say it isn't used. It's fully legitimate. Perfect Progressive tenses have their very logical reason to exist, i.e., they allow to express continuous actions. While Passive Voice also has its reason to exist - it's needed when we don't know the doer of the action or don't want to reveal him. Hence, forbidding to use Passive Voice in Perfect Continuous tenses deprives of the possibility to express a continuous impersonal action done to a subject.

uwzai's picture
uwzai

Hi Sir...i want to know passive in present continuous is theoritically possible as u said about all tenses...but does it fully make sense in real life too or not?pls  tell me clearly..as we do use it in our course line

syed5121472's picture
syed5121472

hi , i am from pakistan, reply me after reading please. look, people say that it can not be changed into passive because it has issue of time........ my teacher too said this, i ask her that "the gardener has been watering the plants far 2 hours" is an active voice. now, this "plants has been being watered by the gardener far 2 hours" is a passive voice sentence.now i asked to tell me that has 2 hours been changed into 3 hours? or something else. then she also admitted that it can be . are you cleared? please reply me

Amalendu's picture
Amalendu

For the people who really want to learn modern English grammar esp. British grammar (or even US grammar).  Modern English grammar says it is not possible to make a passive sentence in present perfect continuous. 

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