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In the movie Dead Silence, a man says to a woman:

Yeah, but then you always have been a little feisty, my girl.

In this case, why does he use "always have been" rather than "be always":

Yeah, but then you are always a little feisty, my girl.

  • From the present perfect we understand that the speaker has known the woman for quite a long time. Their relationship is not a new one. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 28 '16 at 11:00
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Unfortunately, nobody gave you an answer so I will do it.

It is the present perfect that indicates that the above started in the past and is still true.

She was a little feisty girl and she still is a little feisty girl.

"always" is an 'adverbs of frequency' which tells us that the statement was true for all that time from the past until now.

Usually though 'adverbs of frequency' go after the first verb of a multiple verb sequence. So it should have been:

  • Yeah, but then you have always been a little feisty, my girl.

But here the speaker decided to emphasize the word "always" and make the sentence more idiomatic.

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