# Does "That bridge has been repaired for the past ten years." mean the repairs were completed 10 years ago?

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The above answer was given by a person to describe "How to use Present Perfect Continuous in Passive form?"

I understand that his first example

"That bridge has been being repaired for the past ten years."

means the repair works were started ten years ago and are not yet completed and still going on. I think he also meant the same meaning.

But he stated that his second example

"That bridge has been repaired for the past ten years."

means the repairs were completed ten years ago.

Is that right? To me, his second example means the repair works has been done for the past ten years and completed recently.

I think the active form of his second example is "They have repaired the bridge for the past ten years" which looks like Present Perfect and that means the action was started ten year ago and now finished recently.

And if I need to make a sentence with the meaning of "the repairs were completed ten years ago", then I would say that in passive form as "The Bridge was repaired by them ten year ago"

May be I'm wrong.

I don't have much reputation to comment there and also that was a two year old post. So that, I've created a new question here to ask about this.

The sentence ""That bridge has been being repaired for the past ten years" is ambiguous. It is unclear if the work started 10 years ago and has not been completed, or if multiple repairs have been made over the ten year span. Furthermore if multiple repairs have been made, it is unclear if the bridge is now repaired or not.

The sentence "That bridge has been repaired for the past ten years" is ambiguous to me too. It definitely means that the bridge is now repaired. But it is unclear if the repairs were completed 10 years ago or if the bridge has been repaired multiple times within the ten year span.

Ok, let's beat this to death so more.

The bridge was repaired 10 years ago.

It is isn't clear if this was the first repair of the bridge, the last, or some intermediate repair. It is also unclear if the bridge needs repair now or not. But 10 years some repairs were made and completed.

The bridge was last repaired 10 years ago.

The last time the bridge was repaired was 10 years ago and those repairs were completed. There may have been previous repairs. It is unclear if the bridge needs repair now or not.

The bridge was last repaired 10 years ago and it is still serviceable.

The last time the bridge was repaired was 10 years ago. There may have been previous repairs. The bridge does not need repair now.

The bridge, now repaired, ...

The bridge does not need repairs now.

The repairs on that bridge started ten years ago and the repairs are still are not finished.

The repairs started 10 years ago and were never completed over the 10 year span.

That bridge started "being repaired" ten years ago.

Repairs were started 10 years ago and have never been finished.

That bridge has been being repaired multiple times over the past ten years.

Over the last 10 years multiple repairs have been completed on the bridge. It is unclear if the bridge needs repair now or not.

• Exactly. I also thought the same, so that I asked this question here. These kind of unclear answers will only make the non-native English speakers confused. Nov 30, 2017 at 3:09
• It is quite possible to be more definitive using English. In general more context would help with the ambiguities.
– MaxW
Nov 30, 2017 at 5:06
• @Raj33, I agree with the answer, but actually saw a different ambiguity for the second sentence. To me, it could mean that during the past 10 years, it has been in a state of repair, but it doesn't rigidly define when the repairs were completed. They could have been completed 15 years ago and the sentence is referencing the condition only during the most recent 10 years. Tangential point: "for the past ten years" is often used in an ambiguous way to refer to a long, imprecise period. It could mean "on the order of ten years" or even be an exaggeration. Nov 30, 2017 at 9:03
• @Raj33, BTW, it isn't that the answer is unclear, it's that it reflects the ambiguities of the language. English can be very imprecise about certain things, and also have many meanings in usage. So you're right, it can be confusing and hard to learn. Nov 30, 2017 at 9:09
• @fixer1234 Thanks for the comment. But that's acceptable only in informal ordinary speaking, right? If I'm writing something formal, then it shouldn't be like this, right? Nov 30, 2017 at 9:51

Most contemporary native speakers would avoid has been being and would opt either for a prepositional phrase:

The bridge has been under repair for ten years

or getting:

The bridge has been getting repaired for ten years.

The prepositional phrase under repair is suitable for somewhat more formal contexts; getting repaired is informal.

If I wanted to say, unambiguously, that the bridge has been in a state of good repair for ten years, having been repaired ten years ago, I wouldn't use the verb repair especially with the present perfect, since has been repaired implies a getting fixed in the past, not a continuous state of being fixed, or at the very least the "getting repaired" is the salient meaning.

The bridge has been in good repair now for ten years.

• Thanks for the answer and explanation. So the "has been repaired" in that sentence is wrong. It must be "has been in good condition/repair". Right? Nov 29, 2017 at 14:56
• Also please clarify, "for ten years" and "for the past ten years" both have same meaning in the example? Nov 29, 2017 at 14:57
• It's not wrong, it's just something that a native speaker would probably not say inasmuch as the most often used sense of has been repaired, its salient meaning, is "has undergone a repair", not "is in a state of (good) repair". A repair undergone is a repair completed, so that meaning jars with "for ten years", which is durational. We're probably add now to underscore the "state" sense of repaired. You've been out of the country. They fixed that damaged bridge while you were away. The bridge has been repaired now for two years. Nov 29, 2017 at 15:11
• In the context we've been discussing, "for ten years " and "for the past ten years" mean the same thing. Nov 29, 2017 at 15:17
• I'm clear now. Your explanation really helped me to understand well. However you mentioned that his answer is not wrong, how? With out "now", the sentence seemed not right to me. Can you clarify? Nov 29, 2017 at 15:38