# How long has he played computer games? - Since he got the computer.

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#### GeneD

##### Senior Member
How long has he been playing the computer games? - For two hours.
How long has he played computer games? - Since he got the computer.

Does the present perfect work this way (as shown in the underlined example)?

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How long has he been playing games since he got the computer?

Is the present perfect continuous necessarily used for repeated actions?

I would use the continuous tense if the action is ongoing.

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I'll try to explain my questions. What's puzzling me is those relations between the simple and continuous tenses in general.
On one hand, the present simple reflects the idea of repeated actions, and so (partly) does the past simple, while the present and past continuous imply the action in progress but not repeated, as I see it. On the other, the past simple (partly) reflects the idea of finished action and the past continuous of unfinished. And when it comes to the perfect variations of the simple and continuous tenses, I normally find myself in a complete mess. :-D Do the present perfect and perfect continuous reflect only the idea of the finished and unfinished action? Or do they also reflect the idea of repeatedness of an action?

The present perfect simple and continuous seems (to me) have more similarities with the present simple and continuous when it comes to "how long" questions. That's why I've asked the initial question.

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Do the present perfect and perfect continuous reflect only the idea of the finished and unfinished action? Or do they also reflect the idea of repeatedness of an action?
1. I have learned English for a long time.
2. I have been learning English for a long time.

I think the action is repeated in both cases.

1. I have learned English for a long time.
2. I have been learning English for a long time.

I think the action is repeated in both cases.

I'm learning English. The present continuous action is temporary, as far as I know. Therefore, it doesn't seem repeated, to me. But maybe there's some ambiguity about the word "repeated", I don't know. I think I'm learning English is similar to I'm reading a book (which I take repeatedly and read but haven't finished yet; hence the emphasis is on progress, and not on regularity, it seems). I wonder if your second example has the same kind of regularity as in my examples above in the present continuous.

Your first example is exactly what I'm asking about! Is it possible to say this way? And if possible, is it natural and common? Or is the continuous form better?

This learner cannot discern a difference in meaning between 1 and 2.

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This learner cannot discern a difference in meaning between 1 and 2.
I'm afraid I can't. Is the process in your first example finished (and not ongoing)?

I don't think 1 denotes the speaker has stopped learning it.

I think 'has' has to be added before 'he been' in the quote box in the post above.

How long has he been playing games since he got the computer?
I would use "since getting his/that/the computer" instead of "since he got the computer" in the above.

I don't think 1 denotes the speaker has stopped learning it.
So what's the difference between your two examples if the action in both is ongoing?

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Who are you talking to about "this learner"?
'This learner' refers to the learner who wrote post #16.

'This learner' refers to the learner who wrote post #16.
It's getting funny, but I really don't understand what you've just said. I have a problem with this word "refer". Who is this mysterious learner: me or you? :-D

1. I have learned English for a long time.
2. I have been learning English for a long time.

I think the action is repeated in both cases.

Sentence 1 is not natural. Use number 2.

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