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    #1

    Present perfect / present perfect continuous

    Could you please tell me the difference between two these tenses ? I've been confused with them. I don't know when using present perfect and when using present perfect contiuous.
    I have this sentence "How long have you learned English?" , but my teacher said there are some verbs that are always conjugated in present perfect continuous tense not present perfect, and "learn" is one of them. So the correct sentence should be "How long have you been learning English ?". Could you please give me as many as possible the verbs of that kind ?(beside "learn").
    Thank you very much !

  1. Mehrgan's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Present perfect / present perfect continuous

    Quote Originally Posted by crazYgeeK View Post
    Could you please tell me the difference between two these tenses ? I've been confused with them. I don't know when using present perfect and when using present perfect contiuous.
    I have this sentence "How long have you learned English?" , but my teacher said there are some verbs that are always conjugated in present perfect continuous tense not present perfect, and "learn" is one of them. So the correct sentence should be "How long have you been learning English ?". Could you please give me as many as possible the verbs of that kind ?(beside "learn").
    Thank you very much !
    ***not a teacher***
    Hi,
    I don't think getting the feel of how to use these tenses is that easy. However, I hope various posts might give you an insight. Let's start with the kind of verbs that cannot be used in a present perfect continuous. There are a bunch of verbs in English, called "Stative Verbs" which can't be used in continuous tenses. They usually express Emotions (hate, love, prefer, regret, fear dislike, etc.), Senses (smell, taste, feel, hear, etc.), mental processes (remember, forget, imagine, mean, understand, etc.) and verbs of such kind. On the other hand you can hear verbs expressing actions, which means they can be used in continuous tenses.

    Some general examples:
    I've been studying for two hours. (a continuous action)
    I've always hated the way she talks! (no real action, but continuous)

    It's been raining the whole last night! (a continuous action)
    He has possessed that skill since he left the college. (no real action, but continuous)



    Please note that, most active verbs (that's, not stative ones) can be used in Present Perfect tense, except that they can't express any Continuity:
    I've been trying to fix this tap for two hours!
    I've tried to fix that tap several times!


    Hope it helps.
    Last edited by Mehrgan; 10-Nov-2010 at 09:51.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Present perfect / present perfect continuous

    Quote Originally Posted by crazYgeeK View Post
    I have this sentence "How long have you learned English?" , but my teacher said there are some verbs that are always conjugated in present perfect continuous tense not present perfect, and "learn" is one of them. So the correct sentence should be "How long have you been learning English ?". Could you please give me as many as possible the verbs of that kind ?(beside "learn").
    Thank you very much !
    Your teacher was right in that the non-continuous form was inappropriate in your specific example, but the problem here is that 'learn' is NOT used only in the non-continuous form.

    I have learnt six languages so far, and I am about to start on my seventh.

    In your example, the learning has been going on for some time, and continues through the moment of speaking into the future. In my example, the learning (of the six languages) is now complete.

    Generally speaking, the continuous form of the present perfect emphasises the duration of the activity, and may indicate that, despite its length, the duration is limited.

    The non-continuous form may indicate that the time period involved continues up to the present moment, but the activity itself is completed.

    Note my use of words: generally speaking, may. This is an area where R A Close's grammar as choice is very relevant. Different speakers may view identical situations in different ways. One may describe it using a non-concontinuous form, the other using a continuous form.

    Writers on grammar frequently give what may appear to be 'rules'; they are better regarded as advice.

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    #4

    Re: Present perfect / present perfect continuous

    Could you please give me some examples that can use both tenses with the same meaning and some examples that using each tense expresses a different meaning from the other?
    I have an example with the word "read". "I have read this book for hours" should be "I have been reading this book for hours", but it's possible to say "I have read for hours". Could you please remark my example ?
    Thank you so much !

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