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

    When I wrote She has been playing with the symphony orchestra this season, my teacher changed it into She has been playing with the symphony orchestra all season.

    She said the present perfect continuous tense focuses on duration of action. But I still don't understand why the phrase "this season" cannot be used with present perfect continuous tense if this season has not finished.

    Can someone explain? Thanks a lot!!

  2. #2
    abaka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Present Perfect Continuous Tense

    "This season" identifies a period without focussing on its duration.
    "All season", with the "all", stresses the duration, and corresponds with your teacher's explanation of the pr.pf.cont. tense.

    Very loosely, it is like the difference between "a century" and "one hundred years". A century (a period) lasts "for one hundred years" (its duration). Similarly, "this season" (the current season, period) lasts "all season" (however long that may be, duration).

    If you want to emphasize that she's been playing for this whole season rather than, perhaps, the last one, you can say "she has been playing with the orchestra all this season". If you just want to say she has played with the orchestra this season, without mentioning duration ("whole" or "part of") at all, you can say "she has played with the orchestra this season".

    PS If you are still confused about the difference between a period and its duration, consider the period during which the Ming Dynasty ruled China. Let's call it the Ming Era. We can talk about the Ming Era without knowing precisely how long it lasted. But in fact, the usual dates for the Ming Era in the Western calendar are AD 1368 to 1644, so the duration of the Ming Era is 276 years. In the example above, "this season" and "last season" are periods, and "all season" is the duration of a season, although we don't specify exactly how long: say X weeks.
    Last edited by abaka; 30-Jan-2009 at 09:43. Reason: added PS

  3. #3
    sarat_106 is offline Key Member
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    Exclamation Re: Present Perfect Continuous Tense

    Quote Originally Posted by ckcgordon View Post
    When I wrote She has been playing with the symphony orchestra this season, my teacher changed it into She has been playing with the symphony orchestra all season.

    She said the present perfect continuous tense focuses on duration of action. But I still don't understand why the phrase "this season" cannot be used with present perfect continuous tense if this season has not finished.

    Can someone explain? Thanks a lot!!

    Then you can say: She is playing with the symphony orchestra this season, because simple present continuous tells about action happening now/at the moment. So why use present perfect continuous tense? But if you want to express duration of the current activity ( playing), use perfect continuous as suggested by your teacher. Take another example:
    She is reading a novel now. (present continuous)
    She has been reading a novel for three hours. (perfect continuous)

  4. #4
    ckcgordon is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Present Perfect Continuous Tense

    Thank you, abaka and sarat_106.
    It's really difficult for a non-native speaker to tell the difference between ppc tense and pc tense.

    I need some more time to digest your explanation.

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