what's the difference???

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Gabryella

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Jan 21, 2008
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hello! I'm an italian student and I would ask you when I must use the past perfect continuous and when I must use the past progressive... I hope you will help me....BECAUSE I'VE NEVER UNDERSTOOD THE DIFFERENCE!!! PLEASE HELP ME!!! :-|:cry:
 

mykwyner

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Past perfect continuous: I have been waiting for half an hour. (I started waiting a half hour ago, and I am still waiting [or I've just now stopped].)

Past progressive: I was waiting for half an hour. (This is being reported at some time after the waiting was over.)
 

rewboss

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Feb 25, 2006
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Past progressive: I was watching TV.

This means that at some point in the past, I was sitting in front of the TV, watching it.

This is just like the present progressive, except that present progressive indicates an action now, and the past progressive indicates an action then.

Do not disturb me: I am having a bath now.
When you knocked on the door, I was having a bath.

Present perfect progressive: I have been living here for eight years.

This means that eight years ago, I started living here, and I am still living here now.

The present perfect progressive indicates an action that began in the past and continues into the present.

So, the past progressive is for actions that stopped in the past, and the present perfect progressive is for actions that didn't stop in the past.

These examples are a bit more confusing:

I have been watching that new TV show. (There is an episode every week. I watched an episode in the past, liked it, and watched the next episode, then the next, and so on. I intend to watch next week's episode.)

I was watching that new TV show. (But you switched off the TV, so now I am looking at a blank screen.)

Julie: Hey, Dave -- you missed our date. We were supposed to meet at 8 o'clock. Where were you?
Dave: I was waiting for you, at the cinema. But you didn't come, so after an hour I went home again.
Julie: But we arranged to meet at the theatre. I was waiting for you there!

Pete: Ah, there you are!
Rose: Sorry I'm late. Have you been waiting long?
Pete: No, only ten minutes.

In the first scene, Dave stopped waiting and went home again. In the second scene, Pete didn't stop waiting until Rose arrived.
 

riverkid

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Aug 17, 2006
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The present perfect progressive indicates an action that began in the past and continues into the present.

These examples are a bit more confusing:

I have been watching that new TV show. (There is an episode every week. I watched an episode in the past, liked it, and watched the next episode, then the next, and so on. I intend to watch next week's episode.)

The present perfect continuous can also contain an element of "current relevance", just as the simple present perfect does and the action does not have to continue to the present moment. The effect of the action, the relevance of the action, now finished is carried by the speaker to the present.

I have been watching that new TV show but no more. That Simon Cowell is such an a**hole.
 
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