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present perfect

English grammar help. Grammar questions from ESL learners

Moderator: Alan

present perfect

Postby Hela » Sat Sep 25, 2004 8:30 pm

Dear teachers,

Is the following stce referring to a present action taking place at the moment of speaking or is it referring to a past event?

“How long have they waited for the doctor ?”
“They’ve waited for him for two hours."

i.e. Are they still waiting or have they got back home?

Many thanks,
Hela
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Postby Hela » Sun Sep 26, 2004 7:39 am

Dear teachers,

The difference between:

"They have waited for the doctor for 2 hours." and
"They have been waiting for the doctor for 2 hours."

is it that the first question is asking, in all their visits to the doctor (with future visits assumed), what is the most time they have ever spent waiting?

Many thanks,
Héla
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Re: present perfect

Postby Alan » Sun Sep 26, 2004 9:25 am

Hela wrote:Dear teachers,

Is the following stce referring to a present action taking place at the moment of speaking or is it referring to a past event?

“How long have they waited for the doctor ?”
“They’ve waited for him for two hours."

i.e. Are they still waiting or have they got back home?

Many thanks,
Hela


Depending on context , it could take either meaning, unlike 'They have been waiting...' which refers exclusively to a still ongoing situation.
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