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  1. #1
    Sir Shakespeare is offline Member
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    Wink What's the difference between this and that ??

    Hi there
    What's the difference between
    I have been learning English for three years
    And
    I have learned English for three years
    OR
    I have been playing football for 10 years
    And
    I have played football for 10 years
    Thank you beforehand

  2. #2
    kfredson is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: What's the difference between this and that ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Shakespeare View Post
    Hi there

    What's the difference between
    I have been learning English for three years
    And
    I have learned English for three years
    OR
    I have been playing football for 10 years
    And
    I have played football for 10 years
    Thank you beforehand
    I don't see any difference, although the second one sounds a little awkward. Generally we use "have been learning," etc., when we are emphasizing the fact that the action has been continuous for a period of time. That is why the first sentence seems more natural than the second.

    When it comes to a sport like football, I would say that the second sentence means that you began playing ten years ago, although it is not clear whether you did it continuously. The first one indicates more continuous involvement.

    In practice, however, you could use them interchangeably.

  3. #3
    sarat_106 is offline Key Member
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    Exclamation Re: What's the difference between this and that ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Shakespeare View Post

    Hi there




    What's the difference between



    I have been learning English for three years
    And
    I have learned English for three years

    OR
    I have been playing football for 10 years
    And
    I have played football for 10 years

    Thank you beforehand


    There is difference between present perfect continuous and present perfect. The Present Perfect Continuous is used to show an action started in the past and continuing up till now.I have been learning English for three years can mean learning action is continuing at the time of speaking, It can also mean that this action is not continuously ongoing. It starts and stops.

    On the other hand, the present perfect expresses a completed action without any duration of time or any time expression such as today, yesterday or six months ago etc. I have learned English for three yearsHere no time expression or duration is mentioned. I have simply completed learning English and now I am working in a company since five years, I do not remember when I have completed learning. If I want say the learning action was completed six years back, then I must use simple past or past perfect tense

    I have been playing football for 10 years since I was in school. Now I am working in a company and also playing football.
    I have played football for 10 years, but after I got a job which needs extensive tour, I have left playing football.
    Last edited by sarat_106; 31-Mar-2010 at 03:21.

  4. #4
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: What's the difference between this and that ??

    While the present perfect continuous can denote an action that is unfinished at the time of speaking, it is not its only use.

    I agree with kfredson that the two forms can be used to express the same idea, with a greater emphasis on it being unfinished or ongoing with the continuous form. In the examples given here, 'I have learned English for three years' doesn't necessarily mean that I have finished learning. In fact, the simple past would probably express that idea better IMO.

    There may be regional differences, but in British English, the difference is often one of emphasis and not a straightforward question of whether it's complete or not- if you go into a room that smells of cigarettes, you ask 'Who's been smoking?' No one is smoking and the action is finished, but the continuous form gives it a heightened relevance at the moment of speaking. When someone is late and we say 'I've been waiting for ages' the act of waiting is over, but the continuous gives greater emphasis to the duration of the wait and its relation with our feelings at the time of speaking.

  5. #5
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: What's the difference between this and that ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Shakespeare View Post

    Hi there





    What's the difference between



    I have been learning English for three years



    And



    I have learned English for three years




    OR



    I have been playing football for 10 years



    And



    I have played football for 10 years





    Thank you beforehand




    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    (1) I am not capable of explaining why, but "I have learned English for three years" sounds very strange to me while "I have studied English for three years" sounds fine.

    (a) Does it have to do with the difference between "learn" and "study"?

    Just wondering. Can't put my finger on it.

  6. #6
    kfredson is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: What's the difference between this and that ??

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    (1) I am not capable of explaining why, but "I have learned English for three years" sounds very strange to me while "I have studied English for three years" sounds fine.

    (a) Does it have to do with the difference between "learn" and "study"?

    Just wondering. Can't put my finger on it.
    Yes, I too have been pondering it. Your comparison with the word "studied" is a great help. You can say "I have studied English for three years" without it indicating whether or not you have had any great success. However, the word "learned" indicates that you have, in fact, really learned it. It is a completed action. And that leads to a problem, since we wouldn't do a completed action over a period of time.

    Try it with these sentences.
    "I have been learning to tie my shoes for six months."
    "I have learned to tie my shoes for six months."
    That wouldn't make any sense. At some point in those six months you apparently learned to tie your shoes. Why would you then continue learning what you have accomplished already? If it was only at the end of that time that you learned to do it you might say:
    "It took me six months to learn to tie my shoes."
    Or, if you wanted to leave your level of success unclear, you could say, "I have studied shoe-tying for six months." That would, in fact, make sense, although the concept is a little strange.

    I'm sorry for the long ramble. I hope it is of some use in unraveling this conundrum.

  7. #7
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: What's the difference between this and that ??

    Quote Originally Posted by kfredson View Post
    Yes, I too have been pondering it. Your comparison with the word "studied" is a great help. You can say "I have studied English for three years" without it indicating whether or not you have had any great success. However, the word "learned" indicates that you have, in fact, really learned it. It is a completed action. And that leads to a problem, since we wouldn't do a completed action over a period of time.

    Try it with these sentences.
    "I have been learning to tie my shoes for six months."
    "I have learned to tie my shoes for six months."
    That wouldn't make any sense. At some point in those six months you apparently learned to tie your shoes. Why would you then continue learning what you have accomplished already? If it was only at the end of that time that you learned to do it you might say:
    "It took me six months to learn to tie my shoes."
    Or, if you wanted to leave your level of success unclear, you could say, "I have studied shoe-tying for six months." That would, in fact, make sense, although the concept is a little strange.

    I'm sorry for the long ramble. I hope it is of some use in unraveling this conundrum.

    You put into words that which I was only capable of sensing in some vague manner. A million thanks.

  8. #8
    kfredson is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: What's the difference between this and that ??

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    You put into words that which I was only capable of sensing in some vague manner. A million thanks.
    You're welcome. I have learned a great deal in recent months from the collected posts of TheParser but I hadn't imagined that TheParser would learn from me!

  9. #9
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: What's the difference between this and that ??

    Quote Originally Posted by kfredson View Post
    You're welcome. I have learned a great deal in recent months from the collected posts of TheParser but I hadn't imagined that TheParser would learn from me!
    I have learned so much from you and the other professionals. I have also learned so much from the learners' questions, which constantly force me to confront issues that I had taken for granted. This thread is an excellent example that forced me (thanks to you) to articulate something that I could only sense. Thanks again.

  10. #10
    bds51 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: What's the difference between this and that ??

    Bravo kfredson!

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