Most grammar resources agree that we have four Aspects in English, the Simple, the Progressive (or Continuous), the Perfect, and the Perfect Progressive (or Perfect Continuous).

By the label, the Perfect Progressive should have features of the Perfect and the Progressive. We extracted general patterns for the Simple, Progressive, and Perfect in part 1 of the grammar journey (■→SUBCHAPTER 3.1.)

∞  es / 2nd

be ∞  ING

have ∞  3rd

Let us compare the Perfect Progressive, as online or in books, and note on a general pattern too.

I will have been reading.

I have been reading.

I had been reading.

By the looks, the Perfect Progressive is a merger of the Perfect and the Progressive: the verb to be from the Progressive takes the place for the head verb in the Perfect pattern.
Auxiliary HAVE always joins with the third form of the verb. The Progressive BE takes on the third form, within the Perfect pattern.
have ∞ 3rd (I have read.)
↑ be ING (I am reading.)
have been ING (I have been reading.)

We have correlated the Simple, Progressive, and Perfect with cognitive mapping values, {ON}, {IN}, and {TO}. Please compare ■→CHAPTER 4.

We can use the Perfect to say what has taken place TO a time.

We can use the Progressive to tell what is progressing IN a time span of focus.

The two combined can help tell what what has been progressing IN a stretch of time that we refer TO another time.

What language marker (preposition) could we choose for our merged variable? We could think about “into”, to join the “in” and “to”.
However, “into” often means the same as “in” or “to” alone, dependent on the context. The westerly wind was frolicking into eddies, in exercise 44 (■→SUBCHAPTER 7.1). “Into” only makes an impression more formal or emphatic than “in” or “to” on their own.

Let us think about the preposition AT. Something has been progressing AT this time now: the time is the grammatical PRESENT, and such is the auxiliary shape.
If our moment in time belongs with the FUTURE, we can say,
AT a time, something will have been progressing.

If our moment belongs with the PAST, we can say,
AT a time, something had been progressing.


Some grammar books will associate our variable {TO} with the Aspect we also can name the Perfect Simple. Some may have the name Perfect Continuous, for our variable {AT}.
Psycholinguistics says that naming processes do not change the ways language forms can work for brains. Book authors are people, and people happen to differ in approaches. Language forms work regardless of grammar labels: for our target grammatical Time and Aspect, we can merge our Progressive and Perfect arrow cues:

All Perfect tenses have an open time frame: they connote another, simultaneous reference in time.
Let us think about the Perfect Simple. The PRESENT Perfect Simple can embrace some time with reference TO the PRESENT.

17. Madame Règle has lived in Paris for fifteen years.
The open frame here looks TO the PRESENT, regarding a time fifteen years ago, when she moved to Paris.

The PAST Perfect Simple can refer one time in the PAST — TO another time in the PAST.

17a. Before moving to Paris, Madame Règle had lived and worked in Lyon, the silk capital of France, for five years.
The open time frame looks TO the PAST, regarding a time five years before.

The FUTURE Perfect Simple may look to a time span from a PRESENT time TO the FUTURE. Our basic or nodal time reference is the PRESENT, but we can think about the PAST as well.

17b. Tomorrow, Madame Règle will have lived and worked in France for twenty years.
(Altogether, in France, she has lived in Lyon and Paris.)

Madame Règle is an avid reader. She never really reads one book only. She usually has a small book with her, tied to her bag with a colorful scarf. She says that being able to look at a book makes it more present to the mind. At the same time, there is always another, bigger book that she reads at home:
variable {ON}, a singular reference to time.

The Perfect Progressive makes a dual time reference and has an open time frame, as all Perfect tenses. The particle I N G can highlight a process, its time span or dynamism.

17c. Madame Règle has read a book about a French thinker, René Descartes.
(She has finished.) {TO}

17d. She has been reading a series of philosophical commentary books.
(Her reading is still in progress, she has not finished yet.) {AT}

Matters may never be what they seem, but they are what they look: the Perfect Progressive does merge the Perfect and the Progressive.
Let us return to our variable {ON}. Could we have it for our basic cognitive reference? Feel welcome to further journey.

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The world may never have seen her original handwriting, if her skill was taken for supernatural. Feel welcome to Poems by Emily Dickinson prepared for print by Teresa Pelka: thematic stanzas, notes on the Greek and Latin inspiration, the correlative with Webster 1828, and the Aristotelian motif, Things perpetual — these are not in time, but in eternity.
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