I have been studying the present perfect simple and the present perfect continuous tenses this week, and I have tried many exercises to improve my grammar. Then I tried this exercise, but I can't find the correct answer to the first question.

I thought the correct answer for the first question was:

you have been keeping a pet for 3 years.

But according to the website, the correct answer is:

You've kept a pet for three years.

Please explain when to use the present perfect simple instead of the present perfect continuous.

  • You could use either here. The exercise you link to doesn't have a single answer in the continuous. I think it is just testing knowledge of the present perfect (in its affirmative, negative and interrogative forms) - not of the present perfect continuous. – rjpond Dec 17 '17 at 18:45
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    The exercise you link to is for the present perfect, not continuous. So all the answers have to be in the present perfect. Mostly, she's checking to see you know all the irregular verbs, it would seem. That said, the continuous could probably be used in most of them. – Lambie Dec 17 '17 at 19:18

The exercises that you have linked are all related to formatting the text as present perfect simple tense, and not as present perfect continuous.

This means using have in the present form and the past participle of the verb (keep -> kept) to transform the phrase, "You keep a pet for three years", into, "You have kept a pet for three years."


Either sentence could be correct because they depend on context.

Use the present perfect continuous for an action over a period of time up to now. "Have been waiting" is a good example.

I have been waiting in the dentist's office for three hours.

To answer your last question:

Both can be used for repeated action, but we would want to use the present perfect simple for a completed series of actions.

I have listened to your complaints at least five times by now.

I use the present perfect continuous when I want to highlight the time that it took.

I think of the present prefect simple, one of its uses, as saying that an action that has happened in the past is important now. For example:

I have lost my car key, so now I cannot drive home. (a completed action that is important now)

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