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  1. #1
    Arobaz is offline Newbie
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    Default Actions (recently) finished : present perfect simple or present perfect continuous

    Hello everybody,


    I have some issues with the present perfect continuous when it means : Actions recently finished, and without time phrase.
    I don't know which should I use : present perfect simple, present perfect continuous and even the past continuous at times!

    Here are some examples :


    First example
    - 'What have you been doing today?'
    - 'I've been reading a book'
    or
    - 'I've just been reading a book'


    But... I don't see any difference (I'm French) and I wonder why they say : 'what have you been doing today' instead of 'what have you done' ...



    And in a video, I saw :
    "I have been looking over your resume and I have to say I'm very impressed."

    Context : That's for a job interview, the job applicant knock at the door and the head of personnel is waiting for her with the resume in her hand. And she say :
    'Oh come in, have a seat. I have been looking over your resume and I have to say I'm very impressed'.

    I'm wondering whether I can use the present perfect and what's the difference between :

    ->I have been looking over your resume and I have to say I'm very impressed.

    -> I have (just) looked over your resume and I have to say I'm very impressed.

    What is the difference? Does it imply an idea (PPC) of duration? (PPS) Of completion? :s


    Third example
    -Who have you talked to?

    -Who have you been talking to?

    -Who were you talking to?
    <-- I believe this one is more common in American English, because I saw it in Malcolm ;)

    I'm totally lost with those ones... I can't imagine what the difference they have.


    Fourth example
    -The ground is wet. It has been raining.

    -The ground is wet. It has rained.

    The former is more common than the latter, but I have already seen the latter... So... I odn't know :/


    And finally :
    - Why have you been talking to him?

    - Why have you talked to him?

    - Why were you talking to him?


    I'm sorry for this long post, but I think : the more examples there are, the better you can help me ^_^

    I hope you'll can help me to see the difference

    Thank you very much in advance,

    Have good night / have a nice day.

    Arobaz

  2. #2
    raphey is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Actions (recently) finished : present perfect simple or present perfect continuou

    ***Not a teacher***

    Wow, what a detailed/subtle set of questions! I'm no expert, but here are my thoughts on the examples you cited:

    First example: Both sound good, though the recency of the book-reading is clearly different. And "what have you done today?" is a fine question, though given a certain intonation it could perhaps put people on the defensive. Not sure why- maybe it is the aspect of completion. So what have you accomplished, anyway? :)

    Second example: just as you said, the simple past implies completion. Combined with "just" it implies recency and completion, which starts to sound like it wasn't a very careful examination. "Just finished looking over" takes away that problem. "Have been looking over" is also good, with an implied open-endedness.

    Third example: "Who have you talked to?" seems to imply something developing or ongoing. So you have a terminal illness- who have you talked to (to get advice)? You saw something you weren't supposed to- who have you talked to? Who have you been talking to- this could mean the same things as above. But it could be a general question, implying regularity.

    Fourth example: Not really sure, but the first sounds much more common.

    Fifth example: I have no additional information apart from what is in example three, but I can say that the middle phrase, "why have you talked to him?", seems pretty uncommon.

    I hope that is at least a little helpful.

    Raphey
    If you are a non-native English speaker, please consider checking out my research survey, described elsewhere on the Using English forum.

  3. #3
    Arobaz is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Actions (recently) finished : present perfect simple or present perfect continuou

    Thank you for your answer :)

    But there isn't teacher in here ? :/


    Anyway, but I've got another sentence where I don't see any differences :

    Has John told you about the party next week? - No, I haven’t seen him today.


    Has John been telling you about the party next week? - No, we were talking about last weekend.


    Thanks in advance ;)

  4. #4
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    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Actions (recently) finished : present perfect simple or present perfect continuou

    Quote Originally Posted by Arobaz View Post
    Thank you for your answer :)

    But there isn't teacher in here ? :/


    Anyway, but I've got another sentence where I don't see any differences :

    Has John told you about the party next week? - No, I haven’t seen him today.


    Has John been telling you about the party next week? - No, we were talking about last weekend.


    Thanks in advance ;)
    "Has John been telling you about the party next week? - No, we were talking about last weekend."
    This one is only possible if the questioner has just seen you talking to John.
    If you post your other questions one at a time, somebody will probably answer them.

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    Arobaz is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Actions (recently) finished : present perfect simple or present perfect continuou

    Thank you =)

    Okay sorry, I notice


    Another one :

    - Why have you been talking to him? : Maybe I see my friend crying after having a conversation with someone, and I ask him : why have you been talking to?

    - Why have you talked to him? : I want to know the reasons about the conversation.

    -
    Why were you talking to him?<- I believe this one is more common in American English but I'm not really sure.


    Am I right? Your opinion / thoughts are welcome :)

    Thanks in advance

  6. #6
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    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Actions (recently) finished : present perfect simple or present perfect continuou

    Quote Originally Posted by Arobaz View Post
    Thank you =)

    Okay sorry, I notice


    Another one :

    - Why have you been talking to him? : Maybe I see my friend crying after having a conversation with someone, and I ask him : why have you been talking to?

    - Why have you talked to him? : I want to know the reasons about the conversation.Why did you talk to him?

    -
    Why were you talking to him?<- I believe this one is more common in American English but I'm not really sure.


    Am I right? Your opinion / thoughts are welcome :)

    Thanks in advance
    Why were you talking to him?
    This is more natural in most contexts than, Why have you been talking to him?

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