For the following questions you can answer using

"I have studied for 2 hours.

"I studied for 2 hours."

"I am studying for 2 hours."

First Question: What can she say at 4pm?

"I am studying for 2 hours." or "I have been studying for 2 hours"

Because she is describing the PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE she can use the PRESENT TENSE. Here the CONTINUOUS ASPECT because it is TEMPORARY, ACTIVITY focused. See Chapter 1 for more details. Would it be possible to use present perfect continuous


  • Hey there! That's my site! PM if you would like! The Present Perfect Continuous V Simple is looked at at Chapter 7, you are at Chapter 2 May 8, 2019 at 21:29

2 Answers 2


I don't really understand your question, but you use "I have been studying for 2 hours" if you started at two and were still studying at 4 or you had just stopped. If you studied from 12 p.m till 2 p.m. you'd say "I studied for two hours, because these two hours are in the past. "I am studying for two hours" means that you are going to study for two hours into the future, so from 4 p.m. till 6 p.m.


If the person starts studying at 2pm, at 4pm they can use the present continuous ONLY if it includes the future. So " I am studying for 3 hours, I have done 2 and I need to do another one."

Otherwise, if they are describing past and present time the Present Perfect is normal.

I have studied for two hours. I have been studying for two hours.

Both are acceptable. The difference?

The Simple focuses on the fact of two hours. The Continuous focuses on the activity of studying.

I am tired because I have been studying. (you get tired from an activity)

My study requirement today is done because I have studied for 2 hours (the quantity of time)

For more info see my chapter 7


  • 1
    I have been looking at your site and I have some questions about the use of the present perfect continuous and "all day".
    – anouk
    May 9, 2019 at 10:52
  • Cool. Why not post a question here on ELL? "All day" is just a length of time, like "for 2 days" or similar. May 9, 2019 at 11:11
  • @anouk, I had a look at Chapter 7, and I clarified the very last part, because I can see I wasn't as clear as I could have been, THANKS for asking for clarification! May 9, 2019 at 11:28
  • Excellent, thank you very much. It's clarifies a lot!
    – anouk
    May 9, 2019 at 11:34
  • I find talking about the time of speaking relevant. Often, learners don't know about the timeline. Everything about English verb usage is related to speaking at a particular point in time. Wouldn't you agree?
    – Lambie
    Feb 4, 2020 at 23:26

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