Present Perfect Continuous Usage 2: Action started in the past and continues into the present

We use Present Perfect Continuous and Present Perfect when action started in the past and continuous into the present.

Link for the same use in Present Perfect: Present Perfect Usage 1: Actions started in the past and continuing in the present

So, what is the difference between Present Perfect Continuous and Present Perfect, when it comes to actions started in the past and continuing in(to) the present?

This time, we compare short-term vs long-term actions. These are the components:

1. Action started in the past

2. Action continues in(to) the present

3. We have indication of duration: for a period of time / since a moment or period of time, or their synonyms, or we can infer the fact of duration from the context.

Temporary (short-term) action vs permanent (long-term) action

We use Present Perfect Continuous more, when we talk about temporary actions and situations.

We use Present Perfect to talk about longer-lasting or permanent situations.

Temporary actions and situations

He has been standing on a street corner FOR three days with a sign that simply reads: “Ask Me Anything.” (Temporary action or situation)

have been looking SINCE April. I couldn’t even get a job at the college I graduated from. (Temporary action or situation)

Long-term or permanent actions and situations:

For 49 years now the United States Marine Corps War Memorial has stood here right on the edge of Arlington Cemetery. (Longer-lasting or permanent situation)

This suspension bridge, one of the first of its type, has stood here FOR decades. (Longer-lasting or permanent situation)

And SINCE the 1800s, a firehouse has stood on this particular spot. It still does. (Longer-lasting or permanent situation)

More on Present Perfect Continuous Tense:

Lesson tags: difference between present perfect continuous and present perfect
Back to: Present Perfect Continuous Tense

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