Grammar question

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  • Kiran
    Participant
    13 February, 2008 at 13:24
    • Total posts: 1

    Can anyone tell me the difference between the present perfect simple and the present perfect continuous ?
    e.g I have been waiting for an hour and I have waited for an hour. How are these used differently ? When should we use the present perfect simple and when should we use the present perfect continuous ? I just didnt know how to explain to a student. Thank you.

    dan
    Moderator
    4 March, 2008 at 21:12
    • Total posts: 770

    Reply To: Grammar question

    – Use the present perfect continuous when you want to focus on the action, whether or not it is completed

    – Use the present perfect simple when you want to focus on the fact that the action is completed.

    For example:

    She’s been eating – the focus is on the action of eating
    She’s eaten – the focus is on the fact that she’s finished.

    I find the best way to show this is with pictures. Imagine a picture of a man looking at his empty pockets and looking sad (he has no money left). You might say:

    He’s spent all his money – the focus is on the fact that the money is gone, the action of spending is finished.

    Now imagine a picture of someone with a big smile on his face, walking down the street laden up with shopping bags. We might say:

    He’s been spending money – the important thing is the action of spending, regardless of whether or not the spending spree is finished!

    If you use this and other comparisons with pictures in the classroom, it can help students see the difference. Now all you have to do is draw the pictures!! :D

    Dan

    Jy
    Participant
    27 March, 2008 at 16:40
    • Total posts: 1

    Reply To: Grammar question

    Can anyone tell me the difference between the present perfect simple and the present perfect continuous ?
    e.g I have been waiting for an hour and I have waited for an hour. How are these used differently ? When should we use the present perfect simple and when should we use the present perfect continuous ? I just didnt know how to explain to a student. Thank you.

    The first is an action that has been completed at the time of speaking.
    The second is still ongoing.

    eg I’ve been waiting for an hour and she still hasn’t shown up. (But I’ll wait for another thirty minutes before I give up.)

    I have waited for an hour and I am going now.

    However, both have the same function in the following:

    eg I’ve lived here for two years.
    I’ve been living here for two years.

    Small difference in intention here:
    He has worked there for a while.
    He has been working there for a while (and he isn’t about to leave soon).

    giorgio.spizzi
    Participant
    21 April, 2008 at 11:14
    • Total posts: 2

    Reply To: Grammar question

    I agree with Dan—his answer is synthetic, explicit & elegant. Maybe I would (actually, I do) use a slightly different metalanguage: "focus on activity" vs "focus on result of activity".
    On the other hand, I’d be embarrassed to propose Jy’s explanation to my students. The state of affairs, the process, the situation, the "action" etc. to which the verb refers does not have to be still in progress for the use of the PPP. It is the speaker who opts for a certain strategy or for a different one. At the end of my first day in London, my landlady might ask me "C’mon now, tell us what you’ve been doing today." And my answer will be "Oh, I’ve been listening to some of your jazz records, then I’ve been walking in the park…" All these "actions" lasted a certain time, but although their "times" are separate from the moment of speaking, they are expressed by means of the PPP because the speaker is "dragging" them as it were to the present moment (the moment of the exchange) as a sort of assessment here & now (HAVE in the Present) of episodes that have seen the involvement of the subject of the sentenc (BE WALKING).
    giorgio.spizzi

    Mr. G
    Participant
    11 September, 2008 at 4:24
    • Total posts: 41

    Reply To: Grammar question

    The difference to PPS and PPC is, present perfect simple expreses an action that is still going on or stopped recently. "She has written 5 letters". I/YOU/WE/THEY/HE/HE/SHE/IT.

    Present Perfect Continuous expresses an action that recently stopped or is going to stop. "I have been writing letters."

    http://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/grammar

    Use this link to get more info.
    Hope that helps.

    Krisha
    Participant
    30 November, 2008 at 8:09
    • Total posts: 5

    Reply To: Grammar question

    Present perfect tense: The action is finished and we can see the result.
    It has rained. The ground is wet. But it isn’t raining any more.

    Present perfect continuous: The action is not finshed yet. It’s stiil going on.
    It has been raining since the morning. The rain hasn’t stopped yet. It is still raining.


    ssrr2001
    Participant
    9 December, 2008 at 9:55
    • Total posts: 6

    Reply To: Grammar question

    Both PP & PPP can be used to talk about actions and situations which started in the past and which still continue .
    BUT !!!
    PP is prefered in (long – lasting ) situations .
    PPP is prefered in ( temporary ) situations .
    e.g
    I haven’t been working verybweel recently .
    I haven’t worked for years .

    I have been living here for the last month .
    My parents have lived all their lives .

    tamzin
    Participant
    9 December, 2008 at 16:11
    • Total posts: 10

    Reply To: Grammar question

    The important thing to remember is that PPS and PPC both have several different uses, some of which overlap slightly:

    PPS
    1. Something which began in the past and continues to the present:
    I’ve lived in London for 20 years.
    I’ve been a teacher for 14 years.

    2. A past action with a present result:
    I’ve broken my leg.
    She’s lost her wallet.

    3. States/ single & repeated actions over a long period of time (also seen as life experience):
    I’ve never been to Spain.
    She’s read that book at least 10 times.

    PPC:
    1. Past continuous activity with present result:
    I’m hot because I’ve been running.

    2. To emphasise how long an action has been going on, or that it’s been repeated many times:
    I’ve been writing emails all morning.
    I’ve been cleaning the house all day.

    3. To suggest that an action is temporary:
    I’ve been living in Leicester for 3 years.
    I’ve been working here for 6 months.

    4. To suggest that an action is not complete:
    I’ve been reading War and Peace.

    A good grammar book to Swan’s Practical English Usage. The Murphy grammar books are also very helpful.

    farouk
    Participant
    9 May, 2010 at 19:59
    • Total posts: 1

    Reply To: Grammar question

    To understand the difference between the two forms you need to create a real context.
    examples:
    1/ I have lived in this place for ten years.( I am still leaving here or there… a situation I am explaining to someone and may be we are far from the place I am talking about) the focus is on the fact that I did not move away.
    2/ I have been searching the house all morning. ( the action was going on for hours and I am still doing the task or just finished… I am explaining to someone what I am doing and for how long) The focus is on the fact that the action took a long and continuous time from the past to time of speaking.

    Carlo
    Participant
    20 August, 2010 at 17:39
    • Total posts: 1

    Reply To: Grammar question

    I have some reservations about the example provided in giorgio.spizzi’s post:

    "C’mon now, tell us what you’ve been doing today." And my answer will be "Oh, I’ve been listening to some of your jazz records, then I’ve been walking in the park…"

    I don’t think the present perfect continuous sounds right in the response. Since I’m not a native speaker I asked an English friend. This is what she had to say:

    "I completely agree with you. I would only use the pres. perf. cont. for two actions happening contemporaneously. If they were consecutive, I would probably put them both in the past tense.

    Eg. What have you been doing all afternoon?
    -A: I’ve been walking in the park and listening to jazz on my IPOD.
    -B: First I listened to some of your jazz records for a couple of hours and then I went for a walk in the park."

    Pruthiraj
    Participant
    13 September, 2010 at 6:49
    • Total posts: 9

    Reply To: Grammar question

    There is very little difference between the present perfect simple and the present perfect continuous. In many cases, both are equally acceptable.

    They’ve been working here for a long time but Andy has worked here for even longer.
    I’ve lived here for 10 years and she has been living here for 12 years.
    To emphasize the action, we use the continuous form.

    We’ve been working really hard for a couple of months.
    She’s been having a hard time.
    To emphasize the result of the action, we use the simple form.

    I’ve made fifteen phone calls this morning.
    He’s written a very good report.
    Look at the difference in these examples.

    I’ve been reading this book for two months but I’ve only read half of it. It’s very difficult to read.
    She’s been trying to convince him for 20 minutes but she hasn’t managed to yet.
    They’ve been talking about this for month and they still haven’t found a solution.
    When an action is finished and you can see the results, use the continuous form.

    The phone bill is enormous. You’ve been calling your boyfriend in Australia, haven’t you?
    You’re red in the face. Have you been running?
    When you use the words ‘ever’ or ‘never’, use the simple form.

    I don’t know them. I’ve never met them.
    Have you ever heard anything so strange in your life.

    e2e4
    Participant
    12 November, 2010 at 19:33
    • Total posts: 20

    Reply To: Grammar question

    Grammar question is very difficult to understand. I have been eating for an hour. I have eaten food an hour ago. Difference is eating during hour, and ate before an hour.

    I ate food an hour ago. The Simple Past should have been used, haven’t it? or
    I have been eating food since an hour ago.

    The difference between the PP and the PP Continuous?

    I usually use the PP when focus on the result of the action that happened in the indefinite past.

    I’ve got the money.
    I’ve eaten enough food.
    He has never seen you before.
    It has been two years since I saw you.

    I usually use the PP Continuous when I focus on how the action has been happening.

    I have been waiting for you so long.
    She has been cheating him all the time.
    She has been trying to teach me academic English.
    I’ve been living in this house for a long time but at length I am not sure whether I’ll continue or not .
    It is two years, I’ve been seeing you, since.

    I’d like that a teacher let me know whether my understanding of the PP & PP Continuous is correct or not.

    letsglow
    Participant
    13 November, 2010 at 22:06
    • Total posts: 7

    Reply To: Grammar question

    The difference between:

    The present perfect continuous: Gives the idea that one event is in progress immediately before, up to, until another time or event. they express the duration of the event.
    e.g I have been waiting for an hour. (event in progress: "waiting". when? before now, up to now – how long? for an hour.

    The present perfect simple: Gives the idea that one thing happensbefore another time or event.
    e.g. I have waited for an hour. ( i finished waiting sometime before now. the exact time is not important)

    e2e4
    Participant
    10 March, 2011 at 18:29
    • Total posts: 20

    Reply To: Grammar question

    The difference between:

    The present perfect continuous: Gives the idea that one event is in progress immediately before, up to, until another time or event. This is not neither correct statement nor grammatically correct sentence. (they) The present perfect continuous expresses the duration of the event.
    e.g I have been waiting for an hour. (event in progress: "waiting". when? before now, up to now – how long? for an hour. Have you forgot to say that you can be waiting now at the time of speaking as well. Will you wait in the close future, nobody knows. The action might continue but also might not. Anyway whether you are waiting now as well or not, depends on the context.

    The present perfect simple: Gives the idea that one thing happens before another time or event. This sentence in red isn’t correct regarding the present perfect. In my opinion it should have been said,’Gives an idea that the action has happened before now or just before now.’
    e.g. I have waited for an hour. ( I have finished waiting sometime before now or just before now. The exact time is not important)

    I am a learner. A teacher is welcome to correct me.

    fedora.c
    Participant
    18 April, 2011 at 4:48
    • Total posts: 3

    Reply To: Grammar question

    The difference is that in present perfect we focus more on the action and not really if its completed or not and in present simple we focus more on the completion of the action.

    e2e4
    Participant
    18 April, 2011 at 6:59
    • Total posts: 20

    Reply To: Grammar question

    The difference is that in the present perfect we focus more on the action and not really if it is completed or not Using the present perfect we focus on the fact that the action has happened and not on how the action has been going on. and in present simple we focus more on the completion of the action. The Earth is of round shape. Which action (has been) is completed here in this sentence?

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