the following is from a workbook and there is no extra context.
A: How can you afford to buy a new car?
B: I've saved. / I've been saving.
(which one and why?)
I would go for the first one: "I have saved".
Reason: Because the result is there, you buy a new car because you have put some money aside. I would rather go for the Present Perfect instead of the Present Perfect continious, the PPC gives you the impressions that "the saving" is a continious action and at the time of speaking you have the money so you aren't "saving" anymore. I tend to use the PPC when you mention a time indication as well
I would use 'I have saved' when I don't want to stress anything special with it. eg: Well ... I have just saved the money for it.
But I tend to say "I have been saving for it since the last ten years." Then I stress the fact that I have been saving for 10 years and 10 years is quite some time.
thank you johan. actually accroding to the workbook the correct answer is 'I've been saving'. but the book does not explain why. in fact, we don't know whether B has bought the car yet or not. I'm really confused. I feel PPC is the right answer, but I can't explain why
Interesting, Well if the PPC is the correct answer then they stress the fact that "the saving money thing" took some time
The problem I have is that I won't reply with any of those 2 answers I would use a time indication with the PPC. The answer in the PP, is a bit short as far as I'm concerned. I would never reply with I've saved, I don't think that there is anything wrong with the tense (PP).
Ok, the explanation I can come up with for why to use the PPC here, is that it is a more complete answer here. "I have saved" sounds strange as an answer on itself.
So, I think the book is right the PPC is the better answer.
Thanks again Johan. I appreciate your effort in trying to explain. Wish I wasn't so dumb...
Originally Posted by Johan[@CLT]
The answer in the PP, is a bit short as far as I'm concerned. I would never reply with I've saved, I don't think that there is anything wrong with the tense (PP).
You say you'd never use PP, then you say there is nothing wrong with it.
Do you mean " Although there is nothing wrong with it, I wouldn't use it" ?
Students want to know why it is PPC but not PP. The context is so limited. So how do decide on the correct answer? And if we look at the question (How can you afford to buy a new car?), what does person A mean by this question? Is it a general question? Or is he talking about a specific car?
Doesn't the word 'allow' suggest that person A knows that B is not normally capable of buying a new car?
Hope I'm not casuing a headache...
First of all mate, you are not dumb ! And secondly this is an interesting thread Don't get me wrong.
My explanation isn't that clear so I'm going to try again.
Well, in this case when you have to choose between these two answers (I have saved - I have been saving) Then the "I have been saving" is the better option. "I have been saving" says much more than "I have saved".
"I have been saving" tells the other person that it took him/her some time in order to get the amount of money to buy the car, that it took him/her some effort. When I hear somebody replying in that way it gives me the impression that he/she worked for it, really wanted the car, it shows devotion as well. The other person might be pleased as well that he/she has reached his/her goal and at the end it deserves respect.
When you look at "I have saved" there is something missing, it just doesn't sound right. I would rather advise you to forget what I have said about the "I have saved"-answer in my previous replies
What you say about the limited context here is absolutely right, I always want to know in what context it is getting used. What does the other person try to say.
When it comes to the question on itself then the person who asks this question might be surprised how it is possible that he/she is able to buy a new car. So, it's possible that he/she has some debts, bought a new house ...etc.
Even then, when you analyse the question; "I have been saving" is definitely the right answer here.
The main thing is that when using a continious tense the speaker always tries to stress something with it. Whether it is an annoying habit, an action that seems to be constantly busy ... It has much more impact and effect. In a way it has something to do with expressing your feelings, that is how I look at it.
To my mind, this question is already a bit personal -> How can you afford to buy a new car? It's not that general.
I don't see why he would be talking about a specific car.
Allow: When you have asked for permission to do something and it has been granted. I wouldn't use that here.
Light, when you have anymore question please, feel free to ask. No problemo.
It's not that I have all the answers at my fingertips, when I don't know it myself I will tell you. I'm not a real teacher, I'm still taking English class myself, but I like to help people out. English is a hobby of mine.
it is clear for me now. perhaps the ones who answered PP were thinking that in PP the result is important, and in PPC the process. so perhaps they thought he can afford to buy so it means he has the money in his hand(=result).
but your explanation makes things clear.
you are very kind. thank you
one thing I'm never short of is questions...