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    #1

    Doubts about particular usage of the past tenses

    - You don't know how long I have waited for you.
    - You don't know how long I have been waiting for you.
    - You don't know how long I waited for you.

    In the first one, the speaker means he has waited for someone to come (maybe in a recent past) and now this person has come; in the second, the speaker means he has waited for a person to come (and the action started in the past) and he's still waiting for this person, is it correct?; in the third sentence, the action is considered to be completely over because the person has come, but, at this stage, what's the difference between the first and the third?? Because in both of them, the person has come anyway...Could you help me, please?

  1. Bennevis's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Doubts about particular usage of the past tenses

    - You don't know how long I have waited for you.

    B has just showed up

    - You don't know how long I have been waiting for you.

    B has still not showed up or has just showed up

    - You don't know how long I waited for you. (e.g. yesterday)

    A might be talking about the past.

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    #3

    Re: Doubts about particular usage of the past tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by dilodi83 View Post
    - You don't know how long I have waited for you.
    - You don't know how long I have been waiting for you.
    - You don't know how long I waited for you.

    In the first one, the speaker means he has waited for someone to come (maybe in a recent past) and now this person has come; in the second, the speaker means he has waited for a person to come (and the action started in the past) and he's still waiting for this person, is it correct?; in the third sentence, the action is considered to be completely over because the person has come, but, at this stage, what's the difference between the first and the third?? Because in both of them, the person has come anyway...Could you help me, please?
    There are no absolute rules. At the instant of speaking, certain thoughts are in the speaker's mind, and words will be uttered. It is not possible to state precisely the situation for each of these utterances.

    All of them could be uttered by someone who has waited/been waiting and who is speaking to a friend who (has) just arrived.

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    #4

    Re: Doubts about particular usage of the past tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    There are no absolute rules. At the instant of speaking, certain thoughts are in the speaker's mind, and words will be uttered. It is not possible to state precisely the situation for each of these utterances.

    All of them could be uttered by someone who has waited/been waiting and who is speaking to a friend who (has) just arrived.

    Thanks so much for explaining it so well...but, according to you, how can a foreigner or, like in my case, a person studying English, catch the difference among them and use them properly, trying to express correctly what he/she really means and give the correct shade of meaning?

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    #5

    Re: Doubts about particular usage of the past tenses

    Thanks so much for explaining it so well...but, according to you, how can a foreigner or, like in my case, a person studying English, catch the difference among them and use them properly, trying to express correctly what he/she really means and give the correct shade of meaning?

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    #6

    Re: Doubts about particular usage of the past tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by dilodi83 View Post
    Thanks so much for explaining it so well...but, according to you, how can a foreigner or, like in my case, a person studying English, catch the difference among them and use them properly, trying to express correctly what he/she really means and give the correct shade of meaning?
    It either comes with experience (reading literature, watching, listening, talking) or/and via reading grammar books.

    Here is a brilliant account of differences between the Present Perfect Simple and the Present Perfect Continuous:

    Present Perfect Simple vs Present Perfect Progressive

    Consider this situation:

    - Why are you so wet?
    - It has been raining.

    What is important to understand is that even though the rain has already stopped we still MAY say "It's been raining", meaning that the rain has just stopped.

    Use this example for your future reference.

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