2.1 MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Present Perfect Simple and Continuous

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Вопрос English Ответ English
Ongoing situations
Use either the Present Perfect Simple or the Present Perfect Continuous to talk about situations or repeated actions which started in the past and continue into the present. Often there is no important difference with verbs such as work, live, study, do.
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Ella's worked or Ella's been working for the company for a year now.
Use the Present Perfect Continuous to emphasise that an action has continued for a long time or is repeated often with verbs of duration, such as wait, stay, run, play, sit, stand, write, etc.
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We've been sitting here for over an hour. How long have you been waiting?
Use the Present Perfect Simple with state verbs such as know, understand, like to talk about an unfinished situation.
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How long have you known Jon?
Completed actions (recent or in time up to now)
I've cut my finger.
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Use the Present Perfect Simple with actions which are short and completed, e.g. drop, start, finish, leave, break, lose, etc.
Use the Present Perfect Simple to emphasise a completed action or result. It often answers the questions: how many?, how much?, how far?
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He's phoned me at least four times today. She's run 500 kilometres and she's raised 5,000 euros so far.
Present evidence
They look hot. Yes, they've been running. Sorry about the smell. I've been cooking fish.
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Sometimes the Present Perfect Continuous is used when there is present evidence of a recent longer activity.
Complete the answers with
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the Present Perfect Simple or the Present Perfect Continuous form of the verbs in brackets.
Why are you looking so pleased with yourself?
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Because I've looking for some new jeans and I've found a pair I like. Because I've just bought a new pair of jeans.
You look hot.
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Yes, I've run 15 kilometres. Yes, I've been running.
What's the matter?
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We've been traying to decide where to go on holiday this year. We've decided we can't afford a holiday this year.
What's up with Jake?
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He 's hurt his knee. He's been fighting with Serge again!
I feel sick.
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That's because you've eaten a whole packet of biscuits. That's because you've been eating ice cream all afternoon.
I teach biology at high school.
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I teach biology at high school. How long have you been teaching there?
I collect antique books.
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I collect antique books. How long have you been collecting them? How many have you collected?
I study English every evening.
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I study English every evening. How long have you been studying it?
I'm saving up money for university.
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I'm saving up money for university. How long have you been saving? How much have you saved?
I have a house on a Greek island.
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I have a house on a Greek island. How long have you had it?
I know Maria well.
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I know Maria well. How long have you known her?
Rule 1.
We've been doing this for three years now.
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Use the Present Perfect Continuous when we want to emphasize that an action is repeated or has lasted for a long time and continues up to now.
Rule 2
Since we started, the company has cleaned over a hundred outfits.
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Use the Present Perfect Simple when an action is shorter and completed before now. It has present relevance or a present effect.
Rule 3.
We've already raised £4,000.
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Use the Present Perfect Simple when we say how many times someone did something or say how much they did
Rule 4.
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Use the Present Perfect Simple OR the Present Perfect Continuous with verbs such as work, live, wait, study, do with little or no difference in meaning.
Rule 5.
Twenty-six-year-old Ryan Sinclair has always loved bikes.
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Use the Present Perfect Simple with state verbs such as know, have, be, love.

Verb tenses in English

There are three basic verb tenses in English: present, past and future. The present tense expresses repeated situations that don't change or situations that are happening now. Also, the present tense presents a fact or truth. Another verb tense is past tense. It expresses a situation or action that started and finished in the past. Most verbs of the past tense are formed adding -ed but there are also irregular verbs which have different past tense forms. The next tense in English is the future tense. It is formed using will or shall and the verb and expresses a situation or action that will happen in the future. Each verb tense has a perfect form that expresses a completed action, a progressive form that is used to indicate an action that still continues and a perfect progressive form, indicating an action that will be completed at some specific time. This lesson is specifically on present perfect simple and continuous.

Present perfect vs present perfect continuous

The flashcards of this lesson will teach you more about the present perfect simple and continuous tenses. You will learn what is the difference between present perfect simple and continuous and the specific cases when you should use present perfect simple or continuous. The flashcard will also teach you the grammar tenses. It is important to learn the difference between present perfect simple and continuous in order to form correct sentences. The present perfect simple and continuous suggest different things. The present perfect simple expresses completion, while the present perfect continuous suggests that an action is unfinished. Here are some of the things you will learn about present perfect simple and continuous:
  • 1. which tense to use to talk about ongoing situations
  • 2. which tense to use to emphasize that an action has continued for a long time
  • 3. how to express completed actions
  • 4. what to use with present evidence
  • 5. which tense to use with state verbs
Moreover, you will exercise your knowledge on the present perfect simple and continuous thanks to the example sentences. Learn more about the present perfect simple and continuous tenses with VocApp's flashcards!

Master the verb tenses in English

There are more tenses in English than just present perfect simple and continuous! Learn about the other verb tenses, how and when to use them with the English resources on our platform. Master the present perfect simple and continuous tenses and take a look at the Future forms, Present perfect and Present continuous lessons to learn and review the other verb tenses in English!

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