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Please let me know, can we use them (by, after, around and at) with the present perfect tense? I have written some examples. Please check the examples and let me know if they made the sense?

Examples:

I have been going to school by 8:00 a.m.

Have they been coming to the office at 9:00 a.m?

He has been moving around 7:00 p.m.

Has she been calling after 10:00 a.m?

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"by" in the first case is ambiguous -- have you been leaving home no later than 0800, or have you been arriving at school no later than 0800? In the fourth case, it would be better to reorder it to "Has she been...". The second case is fine (a repeated action at 0900). In the third case, it depends on what "moving" means -- relocating, in motion, or something else? –  Phil Perry Jun 13 at 17:26
    
@PhilPerry Thanks for your help. I got the answer!!! I just wanted to understand that can we use them (by, after, around and at) with the present perfect tense. I appreciate your help. –  user62015 Jun 13 at 17:38

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The present perfect indicates that the action took quite some time, or was repeated. That makes your first three sentences very weird, but not because of the prepositions. The sentences are strange because you describe actions that should have taken quite a while, but then you indicate a specific moment in time, making that impossible.

If we read the sentences in a context where you indicate the action was repeated (every day, for instance), it was a habit, they make more sense:

I am used to getting up early: I have been going to school by 8 am for years now.

It still is a bit strange though - but that is because I wouldn't say this in any tense. I do not go somewhere by a certain time. I get there or arrive there by 8.

After last months speech about the importance of punctuality most employees have been coming to the office at 9 instead of coming in later.

For some reason, he has been moving furniture around and making noise around 7 pm every evening for the last three weeks. It drives me crazy!

The last sentence works fine, assuming that you mean to ask if she has called several times after 10 am. After makes it clear there was plenty of time for her to call several times.

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Thanks for your help. I got the answer!!! I just wanted to understand that can we use them (by, after, around and at) with the present perfect tense. I appreciate your help. –  user62015 Jun 13 at 17:37
1  
I agree that "go to school by 8am" sounds wierd. OTOH, It's perfectly reasonable to say that you "get to school by 8 am" -- indicating that you arrive at different times, but always no later than 8. –  Michael Edenfield Jun 13 at 22:53

These are all acceptable if the times indicate the (approximate) time at which the action is repeatedly performed, not only in the past but in the present—that is if you could expand each time with ‘every day’ or something similar.

okI have been going to school by 8:00 am every day.
okI have been going to school by 8:00 am for the past month.

But if you are referring only to times in the past, or to a single past occasion, they are not acceptable.

I have been going to school by 8:00 am yesterday.
I have been going to school by 8:00 last month.

Keep in mind that the present perfect is a present tense, and any temporal modifier used with it must include present reference.


marks a usage as unacceptable

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Thanks for your help. I got the answer!!! I just wanted to understand that can we use them (by, after, around and at) with the present perfect tense. I appreciate your help. –  user62015 Jun 13 at 17:37

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