What is the difference in meaning between present continuous and present perfect? For example:
We have lived in this house for 10 years-meaning we have just completed 10 years in this house.(still living ????)
We have been living in this house for the last 10 years??? -what would this mean compared to the above.
We lived in this house for 10 years- simple past indicating that we no more live in this house.
@12bhang, good question.
In principle, present perfect tense presents the following two actions:
1: Actions that started sometime in the past and still continue in the present
2: Actions that started sometime in the past, ended in the past, but whose effect still continue in the present.
On similar lines, present perfect continuous tense emphasizes on the continuous nature of the actions that are presented by the present perfect tense. Since they present continuous nature of the actions, they present continuous nature of the actions that started sometime in the past and still continue in the present (so case number 1 above).
Let's see that with a set of examples:
1A: Mary has done her assignment - This sentence implies that the assignment is completed (so case 2)
1B: Mary has been doing her assignment - This sentence implies that Mary started her assignment sometime in the past and she is still working on it. So if we see Mary right now, we will see her working on her assignment. (so continuous aspect of case 1)
2A: Mary has lived in her ancestral house. - This sentence implies that Mary lived in this house in the past and she is still living in this house right now. (so case 1)
2B: Mary has been living in her ancestral house. - This sentence also implies the same meaning as 2A (so continuous aspect of case 1)
So in the second set of examples (2A- 2B), the two tenses communicate same meaning.
Thus, the present perfect continuous tense simply emphasizes or communicates the continuous nature of the action presented by present perfect tense as we saw in examples 1A-1B. Now, the meaning communicated by these two verb tenses may be same in certain cases. It really depends on the nature of the verb as we saw in examples 2A-2B.
Hope this helps.
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