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Permanent / Temporary

Indicating long– or short–term activity

Tower of Pisa with tourists
 

 

Present Perfect — Nonprogressive vs. Progressive

PERMANENT

 Present perfect sentences focus on the duration of time more than the specific activity. In this context, using the present perfect implies a more permanent state.

The Tower has stood in Pisa since 1352.  (permanent)

It has leaned for many decades.

The huge bell in the tower hasn't rung for years.

TEMPORARY

Present perfect progressive sentences tend to focus more on the activity — its repetition (several times) or (still) duration.  In this context, using progressive indicates  a temporary activity.

We have been standing in line two hours.   (temporary)

I have been leaning against this wall waiting.

The priest has been ringing the bell this morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Present Perfect Progressive

Adverbs for Temporary Activity

 

 

 

ADVERBS FOR MORE PERMANENT STATES

Most present perfect adverbs are used with the progressive and nonprogressive verbs.

SINCE / FOR SO FAR / THIS

since noon (exact time – midnight, 3:00 a.m.)

so far (to date)

since this morning (today, this week, this year, etc.)

up to now (until now)

since July 2003 (summer, 1900, the 4th century)

over the past two years (weeks, decades, centuries)

ever since then (I met you, I was little)

in my life  (in these times, situations, moments)

for a minute (hour, day, week, month, year, decade)

always (routinely, customarily, normally, as a rule, in general)

for a while  (a minute, an hour, a day, 30 years – quantity of time)

usually (most of the time)

for the time being (for now)  (quantity of time)

often (frequently, half of the time)
 

ADVERBS FOR MORE TEMPORARY SITUATIONS

Adverbs expressing repetition are not commonly used with the progressive because the tense already carries the meaning repetition and continuation .

RELATIVE TIME TEMPORARY

while you are here.

tonight ( today)

as we speak.

this week (morning,  evening, week, month, year)

for the time being.

just this second (moment, minute, week-end)

as you have been working.

for a little while(for the time being)

 

currently (currently, presently, just now, now) 

 

recently (lately)

 

all morning (day)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Static Verbs

In Present Perfect Progressive

 

 

 

Verbs that Change Meaning in the Progressive

STATIC VERB

The nonprogressive form is used with most static verbs.

STATES OF BEING

He has been here for a while. 

The president has looked tired for the past few months. appears / seems 

He has appeared to be uncomfortable in public. looks 

POSSESSION STATES

We have owned our home for several years.

We have had our house since 1990. owned   

MENTAL STATES

He has known the secret for a while.

They have believed in God for centuries.  

SENSORY STATES

I have heard what you said.

He has seen the new plans. looked at

He has sounded better since he started taking his medicine. appears

MEASUREMENT

The cost equals $100,000.

He has weighed a lot for quite some time.  

DYNAMIC VERB

Some static verbs have different meanings when used in the progressive form.

 

The president has been looking for new advisors. searching

Joe Smith has been appearing on stage for three months. acting

 

I have been having a lot of headaches recently. experiencing

 

 

He has been seeing a new doctor. going to (as a patient)

The alarm has been sounding all day.  ringing

 

He has been weighing himself every day.

 

Related pages Stative Verbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

ERROR SOLUTION

I have lived in the dormitory for a week

I have been living in the dormitory for a week. (Use progressive.)
I have lived in the dormitory for six years. (Use a larger quantity of time.)

How have you been liking your new school?

How has your experience been at your new school.

The progressive use of "like" sounds affected (artificial) to many.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

A Change of Interest

grandfather
 

 

Read the Context

My grandfather (teach) high-school history courses for the past twenty-five years, but he (not– work) so much lately.  

In general, he (keep) himself in good health, but (not-feeling) energetic in the past few months.

He (swim) daily for several years, but his shoulder (bother) him recently.

He went to see his doctor, the same one he (have) for twenty years, who mentioned that he (consider) retiring.

My grandfather (always-dream) of traveling, but he (not-able) because of his work. 

Since his talk with his doctor, he (think) about his own retirement.

For years, he (present) lectures to his students on famous world landmarks, but he (never-see) them in person.

For this reason, my grandfather decided that (work) long enough and he (write) up his "bucket list".

He (look) into historical tours, and found out that the university he attended (have) an alumni tour program for 140 years.

He (always-want) to see the the Alhambra, the Parthenon, the Agora, Ephesus and Cappadocia.

He (sign)up for a historical tour to exactly these places.  He will be seeing the sites he (study) for so long.

alumnus (sing.) / alumni (pl.)  former graduate of a university or college

bother (v.) – irritate, annoy, cause trouble (pain)

bucket list (expression) – places to go or things to do before dying

energetic (adj.) – filled with energy and enthusiasm

landmark (n.) – a famous building or site that is known around the world

retirement (n.) – the age (~65) at which a person stops working (and does other things.)

Cal Discoveries Travel 

 

 

 

 

Simple present perfect or progressive?

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
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Note that in most cases below, the progressive can be used when placing emphasis on a continuing or repetitive activity (but not for static verbs.)

 

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