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    • Join Date: Apr 2008
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    #1

    Smile Present perfect

    Hi,

    1.I've lived here all my life. Why not been living?

    2.Open a window- someone's has been smoking in here. Why not smoked?

    3. I've worked here for three months. In which situation would I use it?

    4.You smell of alcohol- have you been drinking? Whny not drunk?

    5. "Could I speak to Helen, please?" -- "I'm afraid she has gone shopping." Why not been?

    6. You canīt talk to her now. She has gone to Prague. Why not been?

    If anyone could answer my questions, I would be really glad. Thank you in advance

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    #2

    Re: Present perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by kukinecka View Post
    Hi,

    1.I've lived here all my life. Why not been living? - present perfect simple does not tell me if the speaker still continues to live there.

    2.Open a window- someone's has been smoking in here. Why not smoked?- the action has just finished.

    3. I've worked here for three months. In which situation would I use it? -see 1.

    4.You smell of alcohol- have you been drinking? Whny not drunk?- see 2

    5. "Could I speak to Helen, please?" -- "I'm afraid she has gone shopping." Why not been? - she is still going on shopping.

    6. You canīt talk to her now. She has gone to Prague. Why not been?- she hasn`t come back.
    If anyone could answer my questions, I would be really glad. Thank you in advance
    e.g. She has been to Prague - she has come back.
    She has gone to Prague. - she is still there.

    Present Perfect continuous denotes actions which began in the past and are still continuing or they have only just finished.
    Present Perfect simple denotes actions completed in an unspecified time or recently completed actions.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    #3

    Re: Present perfect

    Understand that people do not speaker in isolated sentences - and when they do, there is usually a context: eg Stop thief!
    or
    Turn that music down!
    Sentences such as those you quote occur in a conversation, and the speaker has something in mind, and where their thoughts are going when they utter these words.

    I've lived here all my life. Why not 'been living'?

    It could be. Both would be correct. What would be the next thing they might say?, because where they are going in their thoughts is why a native speaker would use one or the other:
    "I've lived here all my life, it's such a nice neighbourhood.

    The focus is on the span of time, from something in the past, and bringing it right up to this moment.
    "I've been living here all my life, and I fully intend to continue to do so until I die. No Council is kicking me out of my home."
    Here we are focussing on the action itself (in this example, of 'living/dwelling' )and thinking of it as an extended activity that may not have finished yet. Another example would be:
    "I've been living under these terrible conditions for three months and the Council still haven't been to fix the collapsed ceiling."
    Again, the emphasis is on the action, the''living', not the span of time (even though a span of time is mentioned).

    2.Open a window- someone's has been smoking in here. Why not smoked?
    How do you know someone's been smoking? Because you can smell it! That is, the tense links a past action with its effects still felt in the present. Compare:
    "Someone has smoked in here. I can see a cigarette burn on the carpet."
    Over the span of time, from when the carpet was first laid to now, it is evident from the burn that at some point in that time span, someone smoked in that room.

    So- what thoughts do you have on number 3 now?
    3. I've worked here for three months. In which situation would I use it?

    "I've worked here for three months, and........... (what sentence would you write to complete the thought that fits with this tense?)
    same with:
    "I've been working here for three months, and......"
    My examples are at the end. DON'T PEEK until you have a go; then also have a go at the other sentences you give.)

    4.You smell of alcohol- have you been drinking? Whny not drunk?

    5. "Could I speak to Helen, please?" -- "I'm afraid she has gone shopping." Why not been?

    6. You canīt talk to her now. She has gone to Prague. Why not been?

    If anyone could answer my questions, I would be really glad. Thank you in advance


    My examples: Highlight the text and change to a darker colour.
    "I've worked here for three months, and in all that time, I haven't had one pay rise.
    "I've (only) been working here for three months, but the boss says I'm as good as some of the girls who've been here for years."
    Last edited by David L.; 03-May-2008 at 11:44.

  1. engee30's Avatar
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    #4

    Smile Re: Present perfect

    Quote Originally Posted by kukinecka View Post
    Hi,

    1.I've lived here all my life. Why not been living?

    2.Open a window- someone's has been smoking in here. Why not smoked?

    3. I've worked here for three months. In which situation would I use it?

    4.You smell of alcohol- have you been drinking? Whny not drunk?

    5. "Could I speak to Helen, please?" -- "I'm afraid she has gone shopping." Why not been?

    6. You canīt talk to her now. She has gone to Prague. Why not been?

    If anyone could answer my questions, I would be really glad. Thank you in advance
    As for #1 and #3.
    You can use both the present perfect simple and continuous to say how long you have been somewhere doing something; sometimes it's just a matter of preference on the part of the speaker, sometimes using the present perfect simple is more appropriate than using the present perfect continuous, and sometimes you simply can't use a particular verb in the continuous form:

    I've lived here all my life. (all my life could be the factor determining the use of the perfect simple)
    I've been living here for two years. (for two years could be the factor determining the use of the perfect continuous)

    I've been drinking all my life. (focus on the act of drinking)
    I've been lying all my life. (focus on the act of lying)

    I've known the Benders all my life. (the only possible way to express the idea of being familiar with somebody or something by means of the verb know)
    I've had difficulty in breathing all my life. (the only possible way to express the idea of experiencing something by means of the verb have)
    ______________
    As for #2 and #4.
    We use the present perfect continuous for an activity that has recently or just now finished. There's a strong connection with the present moment (now):

    Open a window - someone's been smoking in here. (so now you can smell the smoke)
    Jack is extremely tired. He's been working very hard. (he's tired now, and you can see it)
    You smell of alcohol - have you been drinking? (you can smell alcohol now, so you're asking about the very recent past)

    It's all about the emphasis that you want to put. It's an activity that you are intrested in, and you use the present perfect continuous to focus on it.

    If you wanted to emphasize the outcome of somebody's action, then you would use the present perfect simple:

    You fool! You can't breathe normally because you've smoked five cigarettes at a time. How stupid you are!
    I can hardly move - I've eaten two big pizzas and drunk two bottles of coke.

    (five cigarettes and two big pizzas and two bottles of coke are the outcome of someone's action)
    ______________
    As for #5 and #6.
    "Could I speak to Helen, please?" -- "I'm afraid she has gone shopping." (all you know is that she is doing the shopping now, and hasn't come back yet)
    You can't talk to her now. She has gone to Prague. (all you know is that she went to Prague some time ago, and hasn't come back yet)

    You can't use been here because this could imply a finished action; gone doesn't.

    Last edited by engee30; 03-May-2008 at 11:49.

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