I want to talk about an action that happened three years ago, and the action took 3 hours.

I cleaned the carpet for 3 hours.

Can I use ''for'' with simple past tense to talk about the duration time of the action that happened in the past or

am I supposed to use present perfect tense if I use ''for'' to talk about duration time?strong text

  • 2
    The use of for has zero to do with PT versus PP. – Lambie Jan 26 '18 at 20:23
  • Not at all. One can say "I lived in New York for twenty years". Provided you have ceased living in New York it is alright to continue using the simple past. However if you still live in New York then you must use the perfect tense. "I have lived in New York for....". In this context it is the choice of tense which indicates to the listener whether it is an activity which has ceased. – WS2 Jan 26 '18 at 20:49

I cleaned (or was cleaning, or have been cleaning) the carpet for the last three hours.

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