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Which one is correct to describe that I started something and it's still continuing since then.

I've started doing the project Or I started doing the project

I don't know the first one sounds like I've started it several times, or I am still starting it, since the present perfect is to the "start" not what I've actually been doing, however I mean to say that I started it in the past but the actual activity is still going since then, and the second sentence can be even worse that I started doing it in the past but not anymore, which one is correct? Please stick with the both phrases, I understand that there are better ways to phrase the sentence, but regardless.

2 Answers 2

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Both of those are correct. The past participle expresses a completed action. Since the act of starting to work on the project is already done, it is correct and can be used in your case. However, in this particular case, when you use the past tense, you won't sound natural if you don't provide a timeframe, since the sentence sounds incomplete. Also, you don't "do" a project, you "work on" it.

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start is a bit different to other verbs, because it indicates the starting of some other action. That action could still be taking place, although the starting itself is completed. You can therefore use simple past (which describes a completed action) even though the action you started may still be happening.

You would normally say "I started..." if you specify a date or time. The activity could still be going on, or could already be finished.

In August, I started doing yoga every day. - probably still doing it
I started my new job on Monday - probably still doing it
I started work at 6am yesterday. - probably finished at the usual time yesterday
I started doing the project at the beginning of the month. -could still be doing it, could be finished

You use "I have started..." when you don't want to specify a date or time, and whatever you started is still happening.

I have started doing yoga every day.
I have started my new job.
I have started doing the project.

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  • This is weird because learners of English as a foreign language are taught to only use the simple past in case an activity or action is finished (dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/past/…). As I understand this piece of grammar, you have to use the present perfect here only. Mar 30, 2018 at 18:10
  • @MarcinNowak, I have added a first paragraph: I hope that this explains why start is different.
    – JavaLatte
    Mar 31, 2018 at 6:56
  • "I have started doing the project." While I agree with the rest of the answer, I think context is necessary. I keep on finding this in CVs, where it really should have been cast into the simple past.
    – Konchog
    May 19, 2021 at 8:56
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    @LEHANH the problem with your sentence is that the first clause "we started doing the project" provides no useful information because, if you are busy finishing the project, you must have started it.
    – JavaLatte
    Apr 8, 2023 at 9:47
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    @LEHANH the first part of the sentence now adds important information, so it's worth saying. I would prefer present perfect, but simple past is OK. Note that finish is like start: it defines an event, so you would be unlikely to use it in a participial phrase after "busy" because being busy is a state not an event. "We have started a new project, so we are busy working to finish the project on time. Working is state-related, so it's OK after busy. You could use finish to describe a limited-time state: "The deadline is tomorrow, so we are busy finishing the project".
    – JavaLatte
    Apr 8, 2023 at 11:40

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