Present perfect vs present perfect continuous

Questions from teachers about English grammar and usage

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Present perfect vs present perfect continuous

Unread post by Craig » Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:18 am

I searched for this comparison but haven't been able to find a posting.

1. I've lived here for 2 years.
2. I've been living here for 2 years.

When I teach the comparison of the above I tell my students that sometimes when the present perfect continuous is used there is an underlying meaning of, an action that is temporary/permanent and/or and action that is considered short/long in its duration.

Therefore, speaker 1. considers 2 years to be, a permanent and/or lengthy duration,
while speaker 2. considers 2 years to be, temporary (perhaps he/she is thinking about moving) and/or that 2 years is not that long a time to be living in one place.

As with all continuous tenses can there not be an underlying meaning of temporariness and/or short duration?

I'd be interested to hear what other teachers think.


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Re: Present perfect vs present perfect continuous

Unread post by Syl » Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:20 pm

Hi, Craig

As you know, the present perfect is a present tense because its use always implies a relationship with the present time.

There are some situations in which we use the present perfect: a) to express an action or state begun in the past which has continued up to and into the present (with the words since, so far, up to now, and so on, - Bill has live in New York since 1940. b) to express an action which was repeated in the past and which will possibly be repeated in the future. We have eaten in that restaurant many times. c) to express an action that occurred at an unspecified time in the past. Words that don't necessarily indicate an exact time often accompany this tense, like just, yet, already, recently, etc. I have already seen that movie.

The present perfect progressive is used more to emphasize the duration of time. The Johnsons' radio have been playing for two hours.

But depending on the intention of the speaker, there is very little difference between both. Many times, they are both acceptable.

Syl's English Corner - Learn English and Have Fun

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