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    #1

    They have waited/They have been waiting for 3 hours.

    Hello!

    The English books say that the verbs that have the idea of a long time, can be found in the present perfect continous.

    The verb "to wait" has the idea of a long time, so it is correct to say:They have been waiting for 3 hours.

    Is it a mistake if we use it in the simple form of the present perfect? They have waited for 3 hours.

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    #2

    Re: They have waited/They have been waiting for 3 hours.

    I think "They have been waiting for 3 hours" is okay because it's a continuous situation but I'm not sure with the other one.

    I'm not a teacher.
    Last edited by Checkmate; 15-Jan-2015 at 15:42. Reason: Adding "I'm not a teacher".

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: They have waited/They have been waiting for 3 hours.

    No, it is not a mistake.

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: They have waited/They have been waiting for 3 hours.

    I think you can say 'have waited' if they are no longer waiting now, i.e. just stopped waiting.

    Not a teacher.

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    #5

    Re: They have waited/They have been waiting for 3 hours.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER ******

    Hello, Artica:

    Have you had a chance to see our beloved teacher Michael Swan's Practical English Usage? *

    He gives these two sentences:

    1. I've been living in Sue's flat [apartment] for the last month.
    2. My parents have lived in Bristol all their lives,

    Mr. Swan says that the present perfect progressive is "often prefer[red]" when we talked about temporary actions; the present perfect is "often prefer[red]" when we talk about permanent actions.

    Personally speaking, I always tell people that "I have lived here in my city since the 1940s."

    Regarding your sentences, I do not know the context. But I do know that this is what I would say to the receptionist in my doctor's office:

    (With great respect and gentleness) Excuse me, Miss, but I have been waiting for three hours to see Dr. Wong. Will it be much longer?

    The receptionist: Just one more hour.

    I will then meekly return to my seat and wait.




    James


    * The 1995 edition, entry 420.6 on page 426.

    P.S. I have made up these sentences:

    "The people have been waiting for two hours to buy tickets to that popular movie." [ A temporary situation]
    "Darling, I have waited all my life to meet someone like you. Finally, my dream has come true." [He had to wait until he was 60 years old.]

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