Let's say you were asked where do you live, and you included the duration.

Q: Where do you live?(the setting is in another place away from your hometown)

A: I live in my hometown. I've been living there for around 25 years, but I have no plans of staying there for good coz' I wanted to work and live abroad. My meaning here is:

  • I have used present perfect continuous saying it won't be long now, because I have a new plan, which is to work and live abroad. Question #1 -IS THIS CORRECT?
  • Question #2, why is that some people say ''I have lived there for 25 years''

=they mean 25 years duration and it ended there(stopped or relocated)

Whereas, some people say=it suggests permanence(still living at the moment)

2 Answers 2


Both present perfect have lived and present perfect continuous have been living are grammatically correct and natural in this context, and there is no significant difference in meaning because for 25 years nails the duration.

If you are indeed thinking of making a change, using present perfect continuous in your sentence would indicate (very gently) this intent.

In other contexts where you are specifying a long time, the meaning may have a slight effect on the choice of tense: the present perfect tends to focus on the time that has gone by, whereas present perfect continuous is more progressive, focussing on the situation at the end of that time, for example:

I have lived in this town for 25 years and I have seen a lot of changes over that time - focus is on the 25 years
I have been living in this town for 25 years and I still don't know where the police station is! - focus is on the situation now.

If the time interval is not specified or different, present perfect would more likely be used for longer, permanent arrangements and present perfect continuous for shorter, temporary arrangements:

I have worked here for 25 years
I have been staying with my brother until I can find a place of my own.


I think live and work are an exemption to the rule. Usually the action in the simple present perfect started in the past and reached to the present while the action in the present perfect continuous started in the past and continues into the present right now. Example: we have always eaten pizza and we have been eating pizza. In the first sentence the action started in the past and means that we still eat pizza but in the second example means that they started eating pizza a little while ago and they are still eating, they have not finished yet. However with live and work is different. The continuous is kind of temporary while the simple form is more permanent like the explanation above. I hope this makes sense.

  • 1
    Welcome to English Language Learners and thanks for your answer. I'd suggest that you back up your statement that 'to live' and 'to work' are exceptions to the rule. I don't believe that's correct. 'I have been living here' is just the same as 'we have been eating pizza'.
    – dwilli
    May 23, 2019 at 4:16

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