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    • Join Date: Sep 2006
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    #1

    A question

    Hi there,

    I wonder if you can help me with the following question:

    -What is the difference in meaning between "I have been living in Barcelona for 20 years" and "I've lived in Barcelona for twenty years"?

    Thanks

  1. blouen's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: A question

    The first sentence means that you are still staying in Barcelona until now since 20 years ago.

    The second sentence means that you have stayed in Barcelona for a peroid of 20 years, and you are not living there anymore.

    I wonder if my explanation is clear enough to be understood.

    ___________________________
    Neither an NES nor a teacher

  2. #3

    Re: A question

    Very simple.
    "I have been living in Barcelona for 20 years" means you still live there.
    "I lived in Barcelona for 20 years" means that you don't live there any more.

    The perfect tense "have been + verb + ing" means that the action began in the past and the action (or its effect) continues into the present.

    I broke my arm. (Happened in the past.)
    I have broken my arm. (It's still broken.)

    I bought a car. (Something that happened; it's history)
    I have bought a car. (Here it is, I have it now.)

    I'm glad you've noticed that it's not the same as in Spanish.

    regards
    baqarah

  3. blouen's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: A question

    Hi baqarah,

    What do you think of my explanation above? Is it comprehensible?
    (I know I need some practice explaining things, so I'm starting it now.)

  4. #5

    Re: A question

    Quote Originally Posted by blouen View Post
    Hi baqarah,

    What do you think of my explanation above? Is it comprehensible?
    (I know I need some practice explaining things, so I'm starting it now.)
    Just fine. You and I were typing at the same time, on opposite sides of the world.

    The first sentence means that you are still staying in Barcelona until now since 20 years ago. (Better: The first sentence means that you are still living in Barcelona and have been for 20 years.)

    The second sentence means that you have stayed in Barcelona for a peroid of 20 years, and you are not living there anymore. (Cross out "have." spelling "period."

    Hope this helps. And I hope to hear from you again.
    baqarah


  5. blouen's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: A question

    It helps. Thanks Baqarah!

    Here it is now:
    The first sentence means that you are still living in Barcelona and have been for 20 years.

    The second sentence means that you stayed in Barcelona for a period of 20 years, and you are not living there anymore.

  6. #7

    Re: A question

    You've got it. Perfect, Blouen.

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    #8

    Re: A question

    hi,

    i don't understand...

    in one case, "have been" means that the action is over: "I have lived in Barcelona for twenty years."

    in the other case, it means that the action is still going on? "I have broken my arm."

    what happened to "have been" from the 1st sentence to the 2nd one so that its interpretation changed completely?

    thanks.

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    #9

    Re: A question

    Hello,

    In both sentences, the speaker still lives in Barcelona. Normally, present perfect ("have lived") describes past experience or completion, while present perfect progressive ("have been living") describes continuation. However, when we add duration to a present perfect sentence ("for 20 years", "since 1982", etc), we are also describing continuation. The caveat is that this only works with certain verbs (stative verbs like "love", "think", "be", plus a few others, including "live" and "work").

    So in other words, if I say:
    "I have loved my wife since we were in high school"
    I'm saying that I still love her today.

    If the speaker no longer lives in Barcelona, the sentence should be

    "I lived in Barcelona for 20 years"
    or
    "I had lived in Barcelona for 20 years"

    So in terms of meaning, there is no difference between your sentences.
    As far as nuance goes, the progressive ("have been living") puts a slight emphasis on the duration, implying that 20 years is a long time.

    Hope this helps

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