Student or Learner
I need a word of advice from people who are well versed in English grammar. If you heard that some speaks better English than he used to , what sentence would you say from given below?
1) "He's very fluent. He must've been working on his English."
2) "He's very fluent. He must've worked on his English."
The reason I'm asking is that we've gotten in an argument in class over whether 1) or 2) is correct. I would stick to the first sentence.
For me, "must have been working" is more natural than "must have worked" since it suggests that he's been working and might be working on English in the future, whereas "must have worked" suggests that he mastered it and he's not willing to work on it anymore. Where do you stand on this one?
I'm as keen on knowing the answer as the one who posted this question
There should really be some difference, be it minute or not, between the use of
must + present perfect
must + present perfect continuous
I know that for pedagogy's or practicality's sake, we need not delve too deep into the nuances; however, for advanced learners, like the person who asked this and myself, we'd really like to hear the fine difference in meaning, pragmatics, whatever...
I had a post earlier on about:
Differences between: Mary will be teaching us / Mary will teach us next year.
Most say they are almost the same. Only when I 'PUSHED' so darn hard did one of my poor classmates [Native English Speaker] told me that perhaps using the future continuous is more personal, taking the listener into consideration and thus a bit more respectful? Though he may be wrong, but this is something even the corpora/grammars can't tell. They are living, as it were, and the senses/fine meaning can only be felt by the Native Speakers.
So, it'll be extremely helpful if Native speakers don't mind burning a bit more glucose in their brain-racking to share a bit more with us. Please don't get me wrong. I'm not being pushy as it was a godsend when I found this forum with so many people replying to my questions and sharing their views. Just my humble opinion =]
One could, if one set one's mind to it, write several thousand words on the minute differences, and one would sound very convincing. Unfortunately, somebody else might then come up with another few thousand words presenting a different argument. bhaisahab, a native speaker of English, and a very experienced teacher, has said, "I think both are equally likely. I might say either of them." If I had got there first, I, a native speaker of English, and an experienced teacher, would have said the same.
If we are pushed (and I am not going to be!) we could come up with situations in which one is more likely than the other. It is possible that, in ostap's original sentences, "he must have worked on his English" might suggest a cessation of the work in the fairly recent past that is not suggested by "he must have been working" - but that's only a possibility, and a possibility of a suggestion! One would need a great deal more context to be sure.
Last edited by 5jj; 02-Feb-2012 at 08:43. Reason: typo