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I'm confused using perfect and perfect continuous tenses. Please correct for me.

When I was young, I have lived in that house. When I was young, I have lived in that house for 4 years. I have lived in that house for 4 years before moving to new house. When I was young, I had lived in that house. When I was young, I had lived in that house for 4 years.

I have lived in this house for 4 years, and I am going to move to new house soon.

After I have lived in that house for 4 years, I moved to new house.

I have been living in this house for 4 years, and I am going to move to new house soon.

Thanks in advance,

JJ

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When I was young, I have lived in that house.

Not correct. You could say:

  • "I have lived in that house." (present perfect, means you lived in it during some indefinite period in the past)
  • "When I was young, I lived in that house." (simple past, means you lived there at the specific time mentioned)

When I was young, I have lived in that house for 4 years.

Not correct. You could say:

  • "When I was young, I lived in that house for 4 years." (simple past, means you lived there for 4 years at the specified time in the past)
  • "When I was young, I had lived in that house for 4 years." (past perfect, means that at the specified time in the past you had spent the previous four years living in that house.)*
  • "I have lived in that house for 4 years." (present perfect, means that right now you have spent the previous four years living in that house.)*

I have lived in that house for 4 years before moving to new house.

Not correct, because the present perfect ("have lived") is always used when the time you're speaking of, at which the statement is true, is "right now" -- it doesn't work with a specific time also given ("before moving to my new house"). You could say:

  • I lived in that house for 4 years before moving to my new house. (simple past, describes something that was true at some specific time in the past)
  • I have lived in that house for 4 years, and now I'm moving to my new house. (two separate independent clauses, with the first one using present perfect to describe an ongoing condition happening right now.)*

When I was young, I had lived in that house.

Correct, but a little bit subtle. If you just want to describe a simple fact that was true in the past, you would say "when I was young, I lived in that house". Using the past perfect like this is referring to "the past of the past", and it doesn't really directly change the meaning of the sentence, but it changes the tone somehow -- I would expect it to maybe be followed with contrasting examples of other places the author lived that were also in the past or something.

When I was young, I had lived in that house for 4 years.*

Correct but maybe not quite what you mean -- see my discussion above of this sentence and alternatives.

I have lived in this house for 4 years, and I am going to move to new house soon.*

Correct use of verbs, but note that you should say "to a new house" or "to my new house"; you can't say "to new house".

After I have lived in that house for 4 years, I moved to new house.

Similar to my discussion of "I have lived in that house for 4 years before moving to new house" above -- you can't put a time condition on the present perfect verb "have lived", because it is always talking about something relative to right now. You could say:

  • "After I had lived in that house for 4 years, I moved to my new house." (past perfect, refers to a condition that was ongoing for 4 years before a particular past point in time)*

I have been living in this house for 4 years, and I am going to move to new house soon.

Again, correct use of verbs but watch out for "to new house" which is not correct. Also note that "have been living" is a whole new verb tense that you didn't use anywhere else in the question, but it's correct! (I can't find a source I trust enough to be sure I've got the name of the tense right; one site calls it "present perfect continuous" which seems reasonable enough.)

I hope this helps! In a lot of these examples, the exact difference between the various tense options I suggested may seem pretty subtle. That's because it's pretty subtle! In many cases, any of the correct examples would get your point across just fine, with at most very small differences in meaning.

** I marked a number of progressive-tense examples with a star. My explanation of each one ("have lived there for 4 years" or "had lived there for 4 years") was that the years would be the immediately preceding 4 years, i.e. if you said "I had been living there for 4 years before I was evicted", it would be the 4 years right before the eviction. I think in practice, this is what someone would mean if they didn't give further explanation. But for example, it would be perfectly ok grammar to say: "I had lived in San Francisco for a total of 4 years before the great earthquake -- 2 of them before my time in Los Angeles, and 2 after." But you can see that this sentence has several clues ("a total of", plus a further explanation) that explain exactly what is meant so there is no confusion.

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  • 1
    thank you so much for you explication help me
    – simon
    Aug 14, 2019 at 4:56
  • 1
    Very helpful and explained everything I need to know. Thank you very much.
    – j321123j
    Aug 14, 2019 at 7:23

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