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  1. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #1

    I have done something for certain years.

    I asked: "I have taught English at a university for ten years." If the speaker has just quitted the teaching job, can s/he use that sentence?
    emsr2d2 answered: No, if you are no longer an English teacher at that university, you would say "I taught English at ... for ten years".
    The above are quoted from https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/t...ith-reasons!#4

    "I have studied at a high school for two years. You may or may not be still studying at a high school."──quoted from https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/t...-for-2-years#2

    The present perfect is used in both of them, why may the second one mean the speaker is not doing it but the first one cannot?

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: I have done something for certain years.

    I don't think either of your two sentences in red are natural ways to say that you have just stopped the activity. You could say "I have been teaching/studying..." emsr2d2's sentence is much better in most contexts, though.
    Last edited by bhaisahab; 02-Jun-2014 at 08:45. Reason: Correct typo

  3. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: I have done something for certain years.

    Perhaps they are unnatural, but on other forums I also found people saying that the present perfect "does not specifically tell us the action is continuing" and "may or may not be still (doing something)". So is it grammatical to use the present perfect when the activity was just stopped?

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: I have done something for certain years.

    Yes, it's grammatical. But language is for communication. Some grammatical sentences have a clearer meaning than other grammatical sentences. For example, "I have worked in small country towns for five years" is grammatical and true, but "I worked in small country towns for five years, about 25 years ago" is more communicative.
    In the following dialogue, the present perfect is better:
    A: "But you don't know what it's like!"
    B: "I do. I've worked in small country towns."
    (25 years ago)
    If I was applying for a job straight after my 5-year stint in the country (ie. it's finished), I would tell a potential employer, "I've been working in small country towns for five years."

    It's too easy to make categorical statements about sentences when there is no context. That's why we insist on it so often.

  5. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: I have done something for certain years.

    If I am applying for a job shortly after a course ceased (i.e. studies are finished), can I tell the potential employer that "I have studied logistics for three years"?

  6. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: I have done something for certain years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    If I am applying for a job shortly after a course ceased (i.e. studies are finished), can I tell the potential employer that "I have studied logistics for three years"?
    Yes, if it's true!

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    #7

    Re: I have done something for certain years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    I asked: "I have taught English at a university for ten years." If the speaker has just quitted the teaching job, can s/he use that sentence?
    I think it could work if the person has finished one job, but intends to teach at another university. However, the simple past is the obvious choice without further context, and with the context given (quitting), the simple past works better.

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