Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Present perfect progressive

Like the present perfect, the present perfect progressive connects the past with the present. However, the progressive tense focuses more on the action or activity of the main verb, while the present perfect presents the sentence more as a fact. In addition, the present perfect progressive is almost always used with for (to convey duration), since (to convey the begining of an action), or a phrase that conveys a length of time, such as "all day" or "all morning." 

To form the present perfect progressive, we use have or has + been + verb ing (present participle)
1. We've been studying for 5 hours. Let's take a break.
2. She's been cleaning since she woke up this morning.
3. They've been practicing their lines all day, but she still hasn't memorized them.
The three sentences above 
are in the present perfect progressive tense and focus on actions that began in the past and continue to the present.

With certain verbs, there isn't much difference between the present perfect and the progressive form especially when you use either tense with for or since. With these verbs, it mainly depends on whether the speaker wants to convey activity (ing/ progressive form) or convey fact and a sense of accomplishment (present perfect).

1. We've waited for 45 minutes. (present perfect)
    We've been waiting for 45 minutes. (present perfect progressive
Both of these sentences convey the same message; however, the second one just has a stronger emphasis on the act of waiting.

2. They've lived in this city since 2010. (present perfect)
    They've been living here since 2010. (present perfect progressive)
There isn't much difference between these two sentences, either. You would say the first one as a fact and emphasize the idea that they've lived there up to the present and say the second one to focus on the action and usually convey the idea that they are not finished living there yet.

Sometimes, depending on the context, the activity in a present perfect progressive sentence may continue or may have recently stopped just before the speaker says the sentence.

1. We've been cooking since 10 this morning, and we're almost done. (This action is continuing; they are still cooking.)
   We're finally finished; I can't believe we've been cooking since 10 this morning. (This action has just stopped.)

2. The kids have been swimming for 5 straight hours! I can't believe they're not tired yet. (The kids are obviously not done swimming.)
    They're going to the locker room to change. They're exhausted; they've been swimming for 5 straight hours. (They have obviously stopped swimming and are now going to the locker room.)

Alright, folks. Feel free to leave a comment here or on Facebook if you have any questions. Better yet, like the small guide site on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter @joeyu2nd for more quick, small English lessons. Catch you again soon.

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