#GrammarTrivia: The Difference between Present Perfect Continous and Present Perfect Simple Tense

Today we are going to discuss a question that is often raised by students – online and offline. 

“How to tell the difference between Present Perfect Simple and Present Perfect Continuous Tenses?” 

Here is a sample of Present Perfect Simple Tense: I have known John since high school. 

While this is a Present Perfect Continuous Tense: I have been studying here for two years. 

Both are being used for finished and unfinished actions. 

Sometimes there is really no difference between the two, esp. if we are using verbs like ‘live’, ‘work’, ‘study’. 

Here are the ways that they can be different: 

 Present Perfect Continuous (PPC) is used to emphasize (menekankan) the time passed. 

They have been queueing for hours! <– Emphasize is on time 

They have queued for hours. <— The emphasize is not on the hours. 

Present Perfect Simple is often used to talk about ‘how much’ or ‘how many’. 

Example: He has drunk three glasses of beer today. 

And this is the most important difference: PPC focuses on the action, while PPS on the fact that the action is completed. 

This difference is often used to talk about different kinds of results in the present. 

PPS is used when the action is finished, and the result comes from the action being finished, example: 

“I have done my homework, so let’s go!” 

 “I have made a cake. Would you like to try it?” 

 PPC is used when the result comes from the action itself. It doesn’t matter if the whole action is finished or not. 

“I’ve been eating dinner, so there are plates all over the table.” 

 “I’ve been making a cake, that’s why the kitchen is such a mess.” 

PPC also emphasize that something happens temporarily. 

She’s been running a lot recently. <— it means she doesn’t usually do this. 

Source: Perfect English Grammar

Compiled by @animenur for @EnglishTips4U on Sunday, 21 June 2015.


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