Student or Learner
The Present Perfect SimpleThe Present Perfect Continuous
1) Unfinished Past
An action or state which started in the past and is NOT FINISHED.
E.g. I've lived here all my life.
This use of the present perfect simple is common with the following prepositions of time:
For = A period of time (ten years, three minutes, a long time, ages)
Since = A point in time (6pm, last year, January, my last birthday, the day I was born).
Present perfect continuous
There is often little difference in meaning between the pres. perf. simp. and cont., but unless the verb is stative, English ALWAYS PREFERS THE PRES. PERF. CONT. FOR UNFINISHED PAST.
What's the difference in this use of present perfect and present perfect continuous.
from The Present Perfect Simple and Continuous
Last edited by Supachoke; 20-Dec-2008 at 12:29.
I'm not sure that I entirely agree with the explanation above. The example given of a present perfect continuous form being used for an unfinished action ("I have been waiting for ages.") is frequently used when the action has in fact finished- when the person who has made you wait finally arrives. There are many cases where either form could be used and a lot depends on the attitude of the speaker and how important they think the connection with current time is. In the example of waiting, the act may be over, but the effect is not and it is this that the speaker may wish to convey. It can, mostly with state verbs, be used to show that something is temporary or likely to change.
If the action is still going on at the time of speaking/writing, we do tend to use the continuous, but with habitual or repeated actions, you may hear either form used (I've played/been playing for the team for a year).