1. He lived there for 10 years;
  2. He has lived there for 10 years;
  3. He has been living there for 10 years.

If 1. means the person may very well not be living there anymore now and 3. means he is still living there at the moment,

What does 2. mean having to do with the present situation? What is the difference of it between the other two sentences(esp. 3.)?


1 Answer 1


The Simple Past is used for actions that were completed at a specific point in time. The following sentence does not infer that the speaker may still be living there.

He lived there for 10 years

Does he live there now? No, he doesn't.

The present perfect is often used when something started in the past and is still connected with the present. For example,

Scarlett Johansson has portrayed the role of Black Widow since 2010

The Present Perfect Continuous could also be used but it could be slightly ambiguous.

Scarlett Johansson has been portraying the role of Black Widow since 2010

This could mean that Johansson has played the role of Black Widow, without interruption, for eight years. This could be possible in a very long Broadway or West End theatre production, so without pre-existing knowledge about the role or further context we would not know if the role was played in movies or in theatres. It just so happens that Johansson has played the role of Black Widow in six movies and is expected to reprise the role in 2019.

In the OP's question, the Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous are often interchangeable and there is little difference in meaning. However, for actions that extend for longer periods, Present Perfect is usually preferred. Compare:

  1. I've been living in LA for 10 years
  2. I've lived in LA for 10 years
  3. I've lived in LA all my life

The PPC in sentence 1 suggests that the arrangement is a temporary ongoing one whereas sentence 2 could suggest that the speaker no longer lives in LA, this ambiguity is removed in sentence 3 because of the specific time reference used: “all my life”.

Another way to remove the ambiguity of sentence 2 (He has lived in X for 10 years) is to rewrite it as

  1. He has lived there for the last ten years

In this sentence, the act of living in a specific location began 10 years ago and continues to the present day

  • @LewisLu I'm so pleased that the answer helped you.Thank you for letting me know :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    May 30, 2018 at 7:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .