On the same exercise there is that sentence

He has been signing up for a historical tour to exactly these places

The reason of choosing the continuous form is that it is a temporary action. But is it not a bit strange because signing a contract is not something that has a duration .

May be the continuous was preferred because in fact the action at the time of writing was not completed was not signed but not because it is temporary action.

What do you think about it? https://www.grammar-quizzes.com/presperf1c.html

  • He might need to leave his house, get in his car, drive to the place where he needs to get a form the tour, stand in line for some time, finally get the form, and then sign it. All of that can be considered part of the process of signing up. – Jason Bassford Apr 15 '19 at 8:16
  • but would present perfect simple be acceptable or awkward – user5577 Apr 15 '19 at 8:38

Signing up for something isn't instantaneous. It's not just signing a contract - it's a case of going somewhere, talking to people, doing paperwork - possibly queuing up before being able to do those things, or between stages. If it's not done in person, it still might have several stages.

The present perfect indicates that it is known that the action is fully completed, and the duration of the activity isn't important, and that you're not trying to refer to a specific point in time, or period of time, during which the activity of signing up was happening. Also, just because the present perfect is acceptable doesn't mean it must be used; you can use the present perfect progressive as well, and it changes the nuance. For example, it can create a greater impression of immediacy - that the signing up happened more recently.

Both are acceptable, with difference in nuance and some contexts will affect which is 'right' (and it could be both). The justification that it is a temporary activity for saying that only signing is acceptable is utterly spurious. A temporary activity that has been completed can use the present perfect.

  • yes I know that .But the reason given to justify the progressive form is that it was a temporary action not that action had a long duration or that was done more recently It is not the progressive form that is bothering me but the reason to justify it. – user5577 Apr 15 '19 at 11:59
  • I've now clarified specifically regarding that in the answer, @user5577 – SamBC Apr 15 '19 at 12:10

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