I want to say my friend was using a software since five years ago and he's still using the software, now which term is right :

  • My friend has been using a software for five years.
  • My friend had been using a software for five years.

or both are incorrect?


If the action has not finished, the correct choice is has been using. The first sentence is okay.

You can make that first sentence more idiomatic by using ‘for’ instead of ‘since’: “My friend has been using the software for five years”, or “My friend has been using the software for the last five years.”

  • So I guess the other is correct if the action is finished for example today, I mean from 5 years ago up to today, right?
    – mok
    Mar 23 '14 at 5:00
  • 3
    The case of “finishing today” is tricky. You say “had been using” for something that was the case in the past: “My friend had been using software X for five years when he decided [last year, or last month] to switch to software Y.” Today, can it be really clear that your friend won’t use the software again?
    – dato
    Mar 23 '14 at 5:02
  • does it genuinely sound strange to a native speaker if someone mix 'has been' and 'had been' up in a relaxed conversation (as opposed to the commodity and frequency of a kind of conversation where it would irritate an academic level sensitivity toward purity)?
    – n611x007
    Feb 6 '15 at 13:08
  • @n611x007: whether something's past-tense can be very important ("Oh, you like Masa? He had been married for 5 years." vs. "... He has been married for five years"), but isn't always particularly important ("She has|had been using Dove body wash for 5 years - you could ask her if it's worth buying" - either way she'll have an opinion on the product). Feb 25 '18 at 2:22

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