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  1. #1
    ckcgordon is offline Junior Member
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    Default Present Perfect Continuous Tense

    Can we use Present Perfect Continuous (PPC) tense in the following ways:

    (1) It's been raining this week. (this week hasn't finished)
    (2) I've been working very hard this term. (this term hasn't finished)
    (3) He's been watching TV this morning. (this morning hasn't finished)


    Most examples on PPC tense I found in grammar books contain "for", "since" or "all" (e.g. It's been raining since 10:00. I've been working very hard for two weeks. He's been watching TV all morning.) But I don't want to use "for", "since" or "all".

    My question is: can I use an unfinished time phrase with this tense like (1) to (3) above?

  2. #2
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Present Perfect Continuous Tense

    Yes, you can. Furthermore, you don't even need a time phrase. You can say things like, 'I've been wondering whether I have to use for, since or all in sentences like this.'

  3. #3
    ckcgordon is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Present Perfect Continuous Tense

    Thank you for your answer and example.

    But I'm curious. Why can't we find examples of sentences in present perfect continuous tense with unfinished time phrases in grammar reference books?

    Another related question is if we can use present perfect continuous tense with unfinished time phrases, then what is the difference between the following sentences:

    - I've drunk 4 cups of coffee this morning/this afternoon/today.
    - I've been drinking 4 cups of coffee this morning/this afternoon/today.

  4. #4
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Present Perfect Continuous Tense

    I don't know the answer to your first question. Maybe they think present perfect tense will be clearer to students if they always include those time phrases.

    I wouldn't use either of the 'four cups' sentences. I would say 'I drank 4 cups of coffee........'
    The first sentence of 'yours' is not incorrect, but there is no need for perfect tense; simple past tense is all you need. The second sentence is very odd; it sounds like you have been drinking from four separate cups (and you haven't finished yet). Remember that 'PPC' is used for unfinished action.

    A good general rule is to always use the simplest tense that can express the desired meaning. If you use perfect tense when it is not needed, you run the risk of saying something you don't mean.

  5. #5
    Teia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Present Perfect Continuous Tense

    Quote Originally Posted by ckcgordon View Post
    Thank you for your answer and example.

    But I'm curious. Why can't we find examples of sentences in present perfect continuous tense with unfinished time phrases in grammar reference books?

    Another related question is if we can use present perfect continuous tense with unfinished time phrases, then what is the difference between the following sentences:

    - I've drunk 4 cups of coffee this morning/this afternoon/today.-correct
    recent finished action

    - I've been drinking 4 cups of coffee this morning/afternoon/today.
    -not correct .You have already drunk 4 cups of coffee . You can say:
    I have been drinking coffee since morning [but not 4 cups of coffee-you have already drunk the coffee ]

  6. #6
    Philly is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Present Perfect Continuous Tense

    I drank 4 cups of coffee this morning.
    This suggests that there is no possibility that you will drink a fifth cup this morning.

    I have drunk 4 cups of coffee this morning.
    This leaves open the possibility that you might drink more coffee this morning (e.g. a 5th cup).

    As the others have said, you really cannot use the present perfect continuous in your sentence.

  7. #7
    JCrawf is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Present Perfect Continuous Tense

    But I think it would be correct to say
    I've been drinking 4 cups of coffee every morning for the past two weeks.
    [and I may continue to drink 4 cups of coffee every morning]

  8. #8
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Present Perfect Continuous Tense

    Philly
    I don't agree with your comments about the two sentences.

    JCrawl
    Yes, your sentence is correct.

  9. #9
    Philly is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Present Perfect Continuous Tense

    Hi 2006

    Would you like to be a bit more specific? I have to admit that I'm a bit mystified as to what you actually disagree with.
    Last edited by Philly; 26-Apr-2007 at 04:27.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Present Perfect Continuous Tense

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    I don't know the answer to your first question. Maybe they think present perfect tense will be clearer to students if they always include those time phrases.

    I wouldn't use either of the 'four cups' sentences. I would say 'I drank 4 cups of coffee........'
    The first sentence of 'yours' is not incorrect, but there is no need for perfect tense; simple past tense is all you need. The second sentence is very odd; it sounds like you have been drinking from four separate cups (and you haven't finished yet). Remember that 'PPC' is used for unfinished action.

    A good general rule is to always use the simplest tense that can express the desired meaning. If you use perfect tense when it is not needed, you run the risk of saying something you don't mean.

    I agree with your first comment here Newbie. Texts usually take the cleanest, shortest route!
    I would , however, say "I've drunk four cups of coffee this morning" when it is still the morning.
    Philly has a point with the nuance of possibility but I agree that it is not really relevant.
    Just my two bits

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