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I am confused about the use of the present perfect continuous and "all day". If I say:

"I have been working all day and I am really tired now", to me it can mean both that I am still working or that I have recently stopped working for the day.

I have read that the expression can only be used to convey that I have stopped working for the day and can't be used if I am still working. In that case I would have to say "I have been working for hours" or "since this morning", for example.

Is this true?

  • I edited your title because "all day" can be used with any tense. – chasly from UK May 9 at 11:27
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It is NOT true.

It is perfectly correct to say both:

I have been working all day and now I am taking a break

and

I have been working all day and I have to continue working this evening.

To say that you have been working all day means that you have been working up until that point.

It leaves open the possibilities that you have stopped or that you are continuing.

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It is not necessary that the Present Perfect Continuous means the action is still continuing, although it is often true.

The Present Perfect is viewing Past and Present TIME. And sometimes the Action itself occured in the Past, sometimes in the Past and Present. But fundamentally it is giving information about the Present.

So with the Present Perfect Simple.

Have you seen this film before?

The action is definitely in the past but the conversation is about the present. The speaker is interested in talking about the film now, or watching the film now.

So with the Present Perfect Continuous:

I have been working all day.

Maybe I am still working, maybe not. But I am definitely telling you information about the present. Perhaps I am tired now because of the activity of working.

I am tired irrespective of whether I am still working or not.

  • 1
    Thank you. On your site it says: I have been working all day, does it mean I am still at the office?" and the answer is: "No". That is what got me confused. By the way, your site is quite helpful. – anouk May 9 at 11:29
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    I need to proofread the articles and make them more visually interesting. I have to admit that I had not been very clear in that section, thank you for your patience! – EnglishAdam May 9 at 11:30

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