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    present progressive+present perfect continious

    1)"You are not answering your phone. I've been trying to reach you."


    2)"You haven't been answering your phone. I've been trying to reach you."

    1) sounds natural to me. Correct? But the use of the Present Perfect Progressive in the second part of the first sentence suggests that a person hasn't been picking up the phone for a while. Is not it logical to change the Present Progressive to the Present Perfect Progressive?
    Last edited by ostap77; 17-Oct-2010 at 22:03.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    Re: present progressive+present perfect continious

    We are dealing here with what R A Close calls grammar as choice. In the first sentence (and indeed in the second as well), the speaker can choose from a variety of tenses/aspects, depending on how s/he views the situation.

    The situation in [1] is roughly that the speaker sees the lack of answering as an ongoing situation of limited duration in a period of time around the present moment.

    In [2] the speaker sees the lack of answering as an ongoing situation in a period of time that began in the past and extends up to, and possibly beyond the present moment.

    With these two examples, there is not a great deal of difference in the message conveyed and received. Because of the link with past time, it is possible that [2] suggests that the not-answering has been going on for a longer period of time, or what appears in the speaker’s mind to be a longer period, but that is a fairly subjective judgement.

    There is indeed a case for saying that the Present Perfect form of the Continuous/Progressive is more logical than the Present, but people rarely plan ahead in terms of formal logic when they speak.

    Incidentally, some writers refer to the BE+verb+ing form as 'Continuous', others as 'Progressive'. It doesn’t really matter, but you should be consistent. Use 'Progressive' or 'Continuous, not both.

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