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This is from a website:

Recently visited pages
Easily find again pages you have been reading.

The Present Perfect Continuous is being used here but would it be possible to say: "pages you have read" without any difference in meaning?

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  • I thing I think deserves comment here is the phrase "easily find again pages ...". It seems to be a style that's spreading in business-speak. "Easily find pages you have been reading again" would be the normal way of saying it in my world and there's something about the corporate nature of this trend that bugs me.
    – fred2
    Sep 24, 2023 at 4:01

2 Answers 2

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In this context, 'has/have been....' is used for the event that has a starting point and is still happening. Since the visitor on the website is still reading the page, it reads 'pages you have been reading...'

I've worked with IT professionals. On websites, we have a session which means particular user's activity from coming onto the website till s/he leaves it. As the visitor is still on the website and in the same session, it is possible to find the pages the user has been reading.

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  • yes, but you can only read one page at a time, so as soon as I leave one page and start reading the next one, I have read the first one.
    – anouk
    Apr 9, 2018 at 16:10
  • that's why they wrote 'pages.'
    – Maulik V
    Apr 10, 2018 at 4:46
  • Yes, but as soon as you finish a page you have read it = completion = present perfect simple. You are not reading that particular page anymore, so why use the continuous. Do you understand my confusion?
    – anouk
    Apr 10, 2018 at 16:06
  • @anouk Not true. The continuous is used for recency (ongoing or finished). The present perfect (simple) emphasizes that you've read the pages (acquired state), rather than that you've been reading them (progress, temporary activity).
    – user3395
    Jun 15, 2018 at 10:05
  • I realized I used finished rather loosely. However, you obviously finished reading them, i.e., you stopped with it. That doesn't mean you completed them, i.e. read all of it. So maybe add "in-the-middle-of-it" to "in progress" (there's a difference), and "temporary activity".
    – user3395
    Jun 15, 2018 at 10:29
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The answer to your question is contained within your question itself. There is such word as recently there. It means that the authors of seemingly some online workbook supposed such phrase as the pages that you have been reading recently. Within the same reasoning, the authors of the workbook implied shorter, temporary actions and situations. This adverb recently is not used with the Present Perfect tense in this context. That is why the answer to your question is that; no, it would not be possible to say pages you have read without any difference in meaning. The phrases are different with their meanings in the context.

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