Present Perfect vs. Present Perfect Continuous / Present Perfect Progressive (現在完成式 vs. 現在完成進行)

 

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1.  Present Perfect Continuous states actions or events that are still in progress until now or have just stopped, while Present Perfect states actions or events that are completed.  The emphasis is on the result when using the present perfect tense and it states the amount of time an action took place; whereas, the emphasis is on the activity when using the present perfect continuous and it states the length of time an action took place. 

 

For example:

The kids have been singing Christmas Carol since this morning.  (They are still singing at this very moment as we speak)

 

Your breath smells so bad.  Have you been smoking?

=> Present perfect continuous emphasizes an action in progress.   

 

The kids have sung Christmas Carol for two hours.  (They have finished singing the song)

=> Present perfect emphasizes a complete action.

 

When we arrive at the auditorium, the kids have been singing Christmas Carol for five minutes. 

=> Present perfect continuous emphasizes an action in progress when another action occurred.   

 

He has tried to change the outcome but in vain.  (The emphasis is on the result)

He has been trying to change the outcome for months.  (The emphasis is on the activity)

 

I have been writing a love novel for two weeks but I have only written two chapters.  Writing takes patience and inspiration.

 

They have been running for the marathon since this morning and they have run half a mile.

 

 

2.  Present perfect continuous indicates a more temporary short term event while present perfect indicates a more permanent complete event

 

For example:

She has written her first novel in 1991.

She has been writing her first novel since this morning. 

 

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3.  Non-continuous verbs cannot be used in the present perfect continuous tense. 

  

For example:

I had known Jamie for two years.

I had been knowing Jamie for two years.  (X)

 

This sofa has belonged to my family since I was a child.

This sofa had been belonging to my family since I was a child.  (X)

 

 

See details for Present Perfect at http://elisaenglish.pixnet.net/blog/post/2274831 and Present Perfect Continuous at http://elisaenglish.pixnet.net/blog/post/2711323

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