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    #1

    Present continuous vs present perfect continuous

    English teacher

    CONTEXT
    I’m back home from work. I can smell something delicious coming from the kitchen. My wife is in there busy with pots and pans. I ask her:
    (1) “What are you cooking, honey?” / (2) “What have you been cooking, honey!”, and I kiss her passionately.

    Is there any difference between (1) and (2) in this context?
    Thanks a lot.
    WW

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    #2

    Re: Present continuous vs present perfect continuous

    The normal difference.

    (1) is asking about her activity at the moment of speaking.
    (2) is asking about the cooking activities of the previous few minutes/hours.

    If you are kissing her passionately, you may have to wait for her response.

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    #3

    Re: Present continuous vs present perfect continuous

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    The normal difference.

    (1) is asking about her activity at the moment of speaking.
    (2) is asking about the cooking activities of the previous few minutes/hours.

    If you are kissing her passionately, you may have to wait for her response.
    Hi, 5jj.

    Do you mean

    (1) my wife is in the kitchen in the middle of her cooking activities?
    (2) she may be in the kitchen but her cooking activities are over?

    WW

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    #4

    Re: Present continuous vs present perfect continuous

    Quote Originally Posted by Walt Whitman View Post
    (1) my wife is in the kitchen in the middle of her cooking activities? Yes
    (2) she may be in the kitchen but her cooking activities are over? Not necessarily. Only context can make that clear. If she is washing up the pots and pans, then her cooking activities may well be over. If they are on the stove, and she is stirring the contents, then it's reasonable to assume that they are not.
    5

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    #5

    Re: Present continuous vs present perfect continuous

    So, if in (2) her cooking activities are still ongoing, I could ask both questions, the first which comes to my mind. Then it is reasonable to assume that there is no difference between them. Am I correct?
    WW

    PS: As to the passionate kiss,5jj, the smell would be enough. I would find the temptation to kiss her too hard to resist.
    Last edited by Walt Whitman; 14-Feb-2012 at 18:43.

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    #6

    Re: Present continuous vs present perfect continuous

    Quote Originally Posted by Walt Whitman View Post
    So, if in (2) her cooking activities are still ongoing, I could ask both either questions, the first which comes to my mind. Yes
    Then it is reasonable to assume that there is no difference between them. Am I correct? No. I noted the difference in my first response.
    In practical terms there may not be an important difference, but a difference there is. For example, the response to 'What are you cooking?" could be "I'ts just some turkey broth for supper". The response to "What have you been cooking?" could be "I've been cooking the turkey and ham for lunch tomorrow. I'm just boiling up the bones for some broth for supper tonight."


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    #7

    Re: Present continuous vs present perfect continuous

    It's very clear now, 5jj.
    Great teacher, your grasp of the language is impressive.
    WW

    PS: Yes, you're right - I stand corrected. Do you think I deserve a dunce's hat?

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