# Thread: perfect perfect simple vs present perfect continous

1. ## perfect perfect simple vs present perfect continous

Can someone have a look at the examples below and tell me why we would use one tense rather than the other:

It looks like it has been raining.

It looks like it has rained.

She has been stealing my jewellery.

She has stolen my jewellery.

We have been working really hard over the last few weeks.

We have worked really hard over the last few weeks.

She has written many emails this morning.

She has been writing many emails this morning.

I have been spending the morning writing emails.

I have spent the morning writing emails.

2. ## Re: perfect perfect simple vs present perfect continous

You are a native speaker. Have you no suggestions at all of your own?

3. ## Re: perfect perfect simple vs present perfect continous

hi, when you talk about an uncompleted action, you should use present perfect continuous. look at the first example: "It looks like it has been raining."- here, we understand that it started some time ago and it is still raining. in other words, it has not finished yet. "It looks like it has rained."-here, it says it rained and finished raining but its effect continues such as everywhere is wet and there is rain water on the ground. when we look at the wet ground,we can understand that it has rained. is that helpful to understand the difference between the two tenses?

4. ## Re: perfect perfect simple vs present perfect continous

Originally Posted by winnie22
hi, when you talk about an uncompleted action, you should use present perfect continuous. look at the first example: "It looks like it has been raining."- here, we understand that it started some time ago and it is still raining. in other words, it has not finished yet. "It looks like it has rained."-here, it says it rained and finished raining but its effect continues such as everywhere is wet and there is rain water on the ground. when we look at the wet ground,we can understand that it has rained. is that helpful to understand the difference between the two tenses?
It is unfortunately not true. It may have rained during the night, but stopped. That's why we can say, "It looks like it's been raining". When we look out of the window, we can say, "It's been raining" after it has stopped.

It is often possible to use the progressive form for a completed action: "Sorry I'm so dirty. I've been gardening all day."

5. ## Re: perfect perfect simple vs present perfect continous

so, what is the difference between the two?

6. ## Re: perfect perfect simple vs present perfect continous

We are giving kobeobie a chance to suggest some possibilities.

7. ## Re: perfect perfect simple vs present perfect continous

To me they sound fundamentally the same.This why I posted these examples.

It has been raining.
It has rained.

At some point in time in the past it has rained.It is no longer raining.

She has been stealing some of my jewellery.
She has stolen my some of my jewellery.

At some point in the past her jewellery was stolen.Obviously the thief is not going to continue to steal her jewellery in either instance. The speaker can not and does not know when the jewellery was stolen or if the missing pieces of jewerllery were stolen on one occasion or on several.

We have been working really hard over the last few weeks.
We have worked really hard over the last few weeks.

These two examples are expressing pretty much the same thing. The only distinction that I can make is that the first example could be suggesting that they don't always work hard.

She has written many emails this morning.
She has been writing many emails this morning.

In both of these examples I get the feeling that she could continue to write emails. It could be the case in the first example that it is now the afternoon.

8. ## Re: perfect perfect simple vs present perfect continous

With the present and past tenses, the progressive aspect conveys idea of limited duration; the non-progressive form does not.

When used in conjunction with the perfect aspect, the progressive aspect still conveys an idea of limited duration. The perfect aspect, with the idea of retrospection, looking back at something that continues to, or has an effect on, the present, can also (at least indirectly) convey the idea of limited duration. This means that the differences in the meanings between the non-progressive and the progressive forms of the present perfect are not alway as clear-cut as the differences in the present- and past-tense forms of the two forms.

It is worth pointing out, too, that single sentences can give only an idea of possible meanings. In real life, context will determine how a speaker views a particular situation at the moment of speaking, and may more obviously make one form more likely than the other.

1.It looks like it has been raining.
2. It looks like it has rained.

Because the progressive form is often used for duration, #1 can suggest that the rain went on for some time, leading to the wetness we see all around. in #2, there is less emphasis on the duration than on the fact that the rain has stopped. In practical terms, there is not a great deal of difference between the two in these sentences. There would be a greater difference in:

3. It has been raining since midnight.
4. It has rained since midnight.

In #3 more emphasis is placed on the fact that it is still raining.
#4 is closer to a simple statement of the fact of rain some time between midnight and the present moment.

If it is still raining at the moment of speaking, #3 is normally more likely, in my opinion.

5. She has been stealing my jewellery.
6. She has stolen my jewellery.

Because of the implication of duration conveyed by the progressive form, #5 suggests that there has been more than one act of theft over a period of time. #6 is more likely to refer to one act of theft.

7. We have been working really hard over the last few weeks.
8. We have worked really hard over the last few weeks.

#7 can stress the duration of the hard work and/or the fact that the work has not yet been completed.
#8 perhaps implies that the work has been completed.

#9. She has written many emails this morning.
#10 She has been writing many emails this morning
.

#9 can suggest that the writing is completed.
#10 can stress the duration of the writing and/or the fact that the writing of emails is not finished yet.

Note that if we used a number instead of 'many', only the non-progressive form is likely.

#11. I have been spending the morning writing emails.
#12.I have spent the morning writing emails.

The difference here is similar to that between #10 and #9.

A final note: The difference between the two forms in the perfect aspect presents problems for many learners and some teacher. This is partly because many coursebooks give oversimplified explanations ("the action in the progressive form is still going on, that in the non-progressive form is not"), partly because, especially with verbs that denote an action/state that often extends over a period of time, there is sometimes little practical difference between the two forms; and partly because we often need more than one sentence to give us sufficient context to find a convincing explanation.

9. ## Re: perfect perfect simple vs present perfect continous

You're a legend.Thanks a million.

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