# Difference between: “it has rained / been raining for two hours” [duplicate]

​I read that this is the difference between present perfect and present perfect continuous.

A1: It has been raining for two hours [and I don't expect it to stop soon].
A2: It has rained for two hours [and will likely continue to do so in the future].

Is it right? I knew it another way.
Could you please tell me what is right?

• When you tell us that "some say" this, to whom do you refer? (Also, there is no difference in meaning betweem "and I don't expect it to stop soon" and "and will likely continue to do so in the future".) – P. E. Dant Oct 30 '16 at 20:21

Actually, I've never heard that rules. Usually, both present perfect simple and present perfect continuous are interchangeable. But there are some differences between them. In present perfect continuous

A1: "It has been raining for two hours"

A1 emphasises the continuity of the event(raining)

In the second example

A2: "It has rained for two hours

The continuity of the event is not important. Besides, A2 takes "rained" as the current state.

## Context

Context is always important in understanding which tense to choose.

In the explanation cited by the OP, an important element was missing, the question that preceded the two responses:

Q: "How long has it been raining?"

A1: It has been raining for two hours [and I don't expect it to stop soon].

A2: It has rained for two hours [and will likely continue to do so in the future].

It is already raining when the speaker asks their question. Presumably the circumstances tell us that rain has been falling for a significant amount of time, the continuous tense emphasises the continuity of the action, in this case the rainfall.

Both the responses are appropriate, and their meanings the same: it started to rain two hours ago. The user's interpretation within the square brackets are not really different from one another. In the first, the user expresses directly their opinion (I don't expect it to stop soon). In the second, it is unclear what or who suggests that it will continue to rain for sometime (and will likely continue to do so …).

For the difference between Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous, I warmly recommend that the user reads the concise answer written by the EL&U user Barrie England, which has also helped me in the past.

## What is Similar?

The Present Perfect and the Present Perfect Continuous tense are often interchangeable when we want to express an action that continues to the present.

## Present Perfect Continuous for Uncompleted Actions or Events

We use this tense to express the idea of an action in progress and when we want to mention the length of its duration. We use the PPC with time expressions that begin with either since or for, or with the question How long...? For example:

• We've been driving for hours
• I've been writing this essay since this morning
• How long has it been raining?

## Present Perfect for Uncompleted Actions or Events

Like the PPC we can use the Present Perfect to talk about an action in progress and its duration. Like the PPC we use the PP with time expressions that begin with for, since; or the question How long...?

Either tense can be used to describe facts or general truths

• The [name of army] have fought since 2014
• The [name of army] have been fighting since 2014
• How long have they been at war?
• How long has the war been going?

Sometimes when the duration is relatively long-term, speakers will prefer the PP tense over the PPC

• Present Perfect: I've worked here most of my life (i.e. long term)
• PP Continuous: I've been working here for just a few weeks (i.e. short term)

Adapted from Grammar for English Language Teachers (Second edition) by Martin Parrott

It has been rwining for two hours.

It has rained for two hours.

There's no difference in meaning. You can use either the present perfect continuous or the present perfect with a period/length of time to express an action that started in the past and continues in the present. Look at the following sentences in the present perfect; these are interchangeable with the present perfect continuous:

I have lived in New York for 2 years = ......have been living.....

I have worked in this factory for 4 years.

I have learnt/taught English for six months.

However, it's more common to use the present perfect continuous when you refer to an action that started in the past and continues up to now.