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  1. #1
    kvvic is offline Junior Member
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    Default Present Perfect Continuous vs Simple Present

    Dear teachers,

    I would appreciate your clarification of the nuance that the present perfect continuous adds to the meaning of the sentence below.
    Dear ..., I've been discussing with company XXX's representative his visit to our company to participate in the meeting over this issue.
    My understanding is that this sentence in its present form means:
    I started the discussion recently, e.g., yesterday, and have just finished it.
    Am I right?

  2. #2
    Pokemon is offline Member
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    Default Re: Present Perfect Continuous vs Simple Present

    No, it doesn't say that the discussion is finished. It only states that a person has been involved in a certain activity. There is no information of any result achieved or the end of the negotiations.

  3. #3
    kvvic is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Present Perfect Continuous vs Simple Present

    Here is an example from this forum concerning the usage of present perfect continuous:
    Quote Originally Posted by philo2009 View Post
    What is the secret of long life? An English writer, who now lives in China, has been visiting a village...
    Actually, this usage is perfectly normal - in BrE at any rate - to refer to recently finished actions/events (i.e. 'recently' in the view of the speaker) which are conceived of (again, in the mind of the speaker) as having some bearing on, or relation to, the current state of affairs.

    One commonly cited example is the following:

    A: You're out of breath! What have you been doing?
    B: I've been running.

    Even though the act itself has been terminated prior to the conversation, the use of the present perfect progressive lends the sense that its effects (here, breathlessness) nevertheless continue to be felt.

    An AmE speaker would probably use the past progressive here, "I was running".
    Is the situation in my case not the same?

  4. #4
    Pokemon is offline Member
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    Default Re: Present Perfect Continuous vs Simple Present

    You must be right. I think you can interpret it as 'the discussion has taken place and is now over'. Sorry.

  5. #5
    kvvic is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Present Perfect Continuous vs Simple Present

    Actually, there seems to be a disagreement between different grammarians over this issue, e.g.:
    Grammatically Correct: The Essential Guide to Spelling, Style, Usage ... By Anne Stilman
    ...the present perfect progressive always means that the action is still ongoing, whether or not a time indicator is included.
    A Reference Grammar for Students of English by R.A. Close
    The present perfect progressive is used, with action verbs, when the speaker is emphasising the idea of activity in progress in the pre-present period.... The activity may have ended in the recent past ... or may have continued up till the moment of speaking ... or may be continuing into the present period ...
    Who is right?

  6. #6
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Present Perfect Continuous vs Simple Present

    Quote Originally Posted by Pokemon View Post
    You must be right. I think you can interpret it as 'the discussion has taken place and is now over'. Sorry.
    I prefer your first response, Pokemon: No, it doesn't say that the discussion is finished. It only states that a person has been involved in a certain activity. There is no information of any result achieved or the end of the negotiations.

    Your final sentence, which I have underlined, puts it very well.

    In Kvvic's second example, the context tells us that the running is now finished. The present perfect continuous can be used - in BrE at any rate - to refer to recently finished actions/events (i.e. 'recently' in the view of the speaker) which are conceived of (again, in the mind of the speaker) as having some bearing on, or relation to, the current state of affairs".

    However, it can also be used for ongoing situations that are not yet finished.


    In the original example, There is no information of any result achieved or the end of the negotiations. Only context and co-text can tell us whether the discussion is continuing or has ended.
    Last edited by 5jj; 09-Nov-2010 at 19:52. Reason: typo

  7. #7
    Pokemon is offline Member
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    Default Re: Present Perfect Continuous vs Simple Present

    "I've been swimming in the pool all morning." Does it necessarily mean that I'm still in the pool? I understand what you mean: present perf. cont., when time limits are not specified, can be used to indicate an activity that in this way or another affects the present situation (Your shous are wet. - Yes, I've been walking in the rain). But my example above shows that it's not the only application.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Present Perfect Continuous vs Simple Present

    Quote Originally Posted by kvvic View Post
    Actually, there seems to be a disagreement between different grammarians over this issue, e.g.:
    Grammatically Correct: The Essential Guide to Spelling, Style, Usage ... By Anne Stilman

    A Reference Grammar for Students of English by R.A. Close

    Who is right?
    R A Close is right - as he usually is! Stilman is wrong.

    I have learnt from bitter experience that it is dangerous to use the words 'always' and 'never' when talking about English grammar.

  9. #9
    kvvic is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Present Perfect Continuous vs Simple Present

    Thanks for your help))

  10. #10
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Present Perfect Continuous vs Simple Present

    Quote Originally Posted by kvvic View Post
    Actually, there seems to be a disagreement between different grammarians over this issue, e.g.:
    Grammatically Correct: The Essential Guide to Spelling, Style, Usage ... By Anne Stilman

    A Reference Grammar for Students of English by R.A. Close

    Who is right?
    The latter!

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