I understand that there is difference in implication in present perfect between sentences with "for-phrase" and those without.

A sentence with "for" implies the state exists until now.

I have been in this company for 3 years (He is still in it.)

But a sentence without it implies the state has ended.

I have been in this company. (He used to work there but not any more.)

But I recently encountered this sentence:

Thanks for your message.I apologise for not getting back to your message,but I've been incredibly busy.

According to the theory above, the speaker isn't busy now. But I doubt it so I hope you will help me to make sure of it.

Thanks in advance.


Your theory is wrong.

It is not necessary to add any time element in order to indicate a continuing situation.

Sometimes, the period concerned may be spelled out. At others it is merely implied or omitted.

I have not felt well all week

is specific about the length of time.

I have not felt well.

is not specific.

Whether the period is specified or not will generally depend on the context.

You might tell your doctor: I have not felt well all week because the period of time is relevant.

But if a friend asked you why you've missed the last two gym sessions, it's sufficient to respond: Because I've not felt well.

In short, you can use the PRESENT PERFECT with or without specifying the period leading up the present.

  • That's perfect! My confusion has totally been dispelled. Thanks. – Robby zhu Dec 10 '19 at 3:00

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