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Is this sentence self contradictory? Some native speakers said it was, and suggested "has been" be changed to "had been".

She has been living in Berlin since 2009, but she doesn't any more.

But I can think of one context where it works:

She lived in Berlin from 2009 to June 5 of 2020. On June 5, she said farewell to her friends and moved away from Berlin. Today, on June 7, I told one of my friends:

She has been living in Berlin since 2009 but she doesn't any more.

What do you think?

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  • Until last year / last month, she was living in Berlin. OR "She was living in Berlin until June [this year]"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 8:22

1 Answer 1

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I think insisting on including "since 2009" is what makes it look self-contradictory. Given the context you've provided, you may instead say: she used to (instead of the present perfect) live in Berlin for 11 years ( Instead of since 2009). You can also say: she had been living in Berlin since 2009. Using the present perfect means that the action is still ongoing, therefore; it would be inappropriate to contradict that in the second clause.

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  • I've been reading "Pride and Prejudice" since the morning, and I need to take a rest. It does not have to be ongoing. Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 15:03
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    Yes it does - since means until now, or until the time being referred to. "She moved to Paris in 2015; before that she had lived in Berlin since 2009." Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 15:12
  • It's the present perfect that implies the action is still relevant when the sentence is said. I have been home since 2:00 PM. says I am at home when I say it. She had been living in Berlin since 2009. is the sentence I would use, for somebody who doesn't live in Berlin when the sentence is said.
    – apaderno
    Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 22:08
  • I've been working on this report since eight o'clock this morning, and now it's finished. It does not have to be ongoing. Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 2:34
  • Then the action of working had been taking place in the past, since eight o'clock, until you finished it at a later point also in the past. In referring to actions that are finished, was taking place at a certain point in the past, had taken place before sth else happened in the past or had been taking place and was finished before a certain time or event in the past " In this case you're emphasizing the duration", we use past tenses. Consider this : I've been sleeping since 8:00. How can say that while the action is still happening? Instead, you say: I had been sleeping since :00
    – AN24
    Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 7:42

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