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I learned that if a stative verb was used in present perfect form, this would indicate an unfinished/continuing action, i.e "I have liked pasta since I was a baby." However, there are also cases such as "I have been to this place before", where I use the stative verb ("be") in present perfect form but still describe a finished action.

Is the verb considered dynamic in this case? Thank you!

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  • In I have been, been is acting as the past participle of to go (the past simple equivalent of have you ever been is did you ever go). In this use been is not stative, so there is no breach of the rule you were taught. The same is true IMHO of @DavidSiegel's examples below - in I have liked pasta, on rare occasions, the meaning can't be stative, because there is no continuity - it is like I liked that steak a whole lot...
    – user96060
    Jun 9, 2019 at 17:18
  • I have liked pasta since I was a baby, but now I can't stand it is not grammatical for me. I have liked the pasta in some places we've been, but tonight I don't fancy it is fine, but then we're back to the non-stative use.
    – user96060
    Jun 9, 2019 at 17:18

1 Answer 1

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As with so many "rules" about English grammar and usage, this one isn't in fact a rule.

I have liked pasta since I was a baby.

implies that the speaker still likes it. However, the sentence:

I have liked pasta since I was a baby, but now I can't stand it.

denies that implication, without in any way changign the grammer of the first clause. Furthermore a sentence such as

I have liked pasta -- on rare occasions.

certainly carries no implication of continuing liking, but the grammar of "have liked" is unchanged. That this form shows a continuing action is the defaiult state of things, but only until context indicates otherwise.

The sentence:

I have been to this place before.

does not in any way imply that this is a continuing action. I am not sure if the verb would be labelled "stative" in this usage, and I am less concerned by such labels than by the overall meaning of the expression.

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  • Okay, I understand. What about the second sentence? Would it also be an example of an exception to the "rule"?
    – nomnom123
    Jun 9, 2019 at 16:38
  • @Kohei Sanno I added that to the answer. Jun 9, 2019 at 16:41
  • I've / I have always liked pasta until today is fine. I've always liked pasta until yesterday is at least "suspect", and I've always liked pasta until two years ago is decidedly unlikely - it would normally be Simple Past I always liked pasta until [some point in the past when I stopped liking it]. Jun 9, 2019 at 16:48
  • "I have liked pasta since I was a baby, but now I can't stand it." is it grammatical ?I think so because it has very recently changed and present perfect can be used to express that recent change
    – Yves Lefol
    Jun 10, 2019 at 9:16

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