Had been having

farhankhan2007

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Hello all,

Could someome please explain me what does "had been having' means I actually do not have a context.

But I hear this many times in songs and movies.

Many thanks
 

GoesStation

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It's impossible to say without context.
 

farhankhan2007

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Would these contexts work?

1) I know you must get lots of letters like this, but my husband admitted to me the other day that he had been having an affair with someone he met at work. He claims it's all over, but I don't think I can ever forgive him. Is our marriage finished?

2) Pastor: Son accused of killing mom 'had been having visions.'

Thanks
 

GoesStation

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Pastor: Son accused of killing mom 'had been having visions.'
This is an example of "headline English", a very compact version of the language. It means that a pastor who is named in the article said something about a male who has been accused of murdering his mother. This male, the "son" in the quote, had been suffering from hallucinations.

This means the hallucinations began before the time the pastor was speaking, and continued up to that time.
 

farhankhan2007

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So when we say "I have had an affair" does it mean the affair began some time in past and it is still active at the time of speaking, it may not be in future, right?

And when we say "had been having an affair" it means sometime in past it started and may or may not have ended in that past duration? This is past perfect I guess.

Just like we say "I had been doing", I had been eating". So affair is something we "have" and not "do" etc. So we say had been having.
Please correct me if I am wrong.
 

GoesStation

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So when we say "I have had an affair" does it mean the affair began some time in past and it is still active at the time of speaking, it may not be in future, right?
No. It means that you began an affair at some time in the past. It ended at some later time in the past.

And when we say "had been having an affair" it means sometime in past it started and may or may not have ended in that past duration? This is past perfect I guess.
It's the past perfect continuous. That affair had begun before the referenced time and generally ended some time between then and now. I wrote "generally ended" because the speaker might add something like "To tell you the truth, it has never really ended."

Just like we say "I had been doing", I had been eating". So affair is something we "have" and not "do" etc. So we say had been having.
That's correct. People have affairs; they don't do them.
 

farhankhan2007

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Oh! English is so confusing.
So why cant we say directly that "I had an affair" rather than saying "I've had..."
So if I understand if we use "I've had and give a time like since/for a year etc it means the activity still on and if I don't give a time frame it means it started and ended in some time in the past.
1) I have stayed in Malaysia (I started staying there sometime in the past and I don't stay there any more)
2) I have stayed in Malaysia for the past 2 years ( I started staying here 2 years ago and still staying here while I speak)

I am sorry for asking too many questions :-(
 

emsr2d2

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Oh! English is so confusing. Yes, we know that!

So why can't we say directly that "I had an affair" rather than saying "I've had..."
We can say "I had an affair". Context dictates which verb form we use.

So, if I understand it correctly, if we use "I've had" and give a time like "since/for a year" etc it means the activity is still going on and if I don't give a time frame it means it started and ended in some time in the past.
Yes.
I've had a headache for a week = I have a headache now and it started a week ago.
I've had a headache = At some point in my life, I have experienced a headache.


1) I have stayed in Malaysia. (I started staying there sometime in the past and I don't stay there anymore.)
2) I have stayed in Malaysia for the past 2 years. (I started staying here 2 years ago and still staying here while I speak.)
If you change the verb in both to "lived", they will be more natural and your understanding of each will be correct.

I am sorry for asking too many questions. :-(

See above.

It's good that you're keen but sometimes so many questions in one post can get confusing. Try to limit yourself to one question per post.
 
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