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Well, I was learning present perfect tenses today and I am confused between present perfect and present perfect continuous. I have grasped majority of the uses of these sentences but I am confused that how come present perfect denote something which is continuous. In Indian schools we are generally taught that present perfect means that action has finished in the past. We dont know the exact time when the action was finished. For instance,

I have finished my work.

He has killed the mosquito.

So it means action happened somewhere near in the past. But how it can be used to represent continuous state of verb. Some examples from internet are,

She has been in Chandigarh for 3 years.

We generally interpret as that she lived for three in Chandigarh but now she lives somewhere else. But internet says it means still she is living in Chandigarh.

As a student I would have written this sentence as

She is living in Chandigarh from 3 years. or

She has been living in Chandigarh for 3 years.

Is it a matter of style only. My main question is can you add any example which is present perfect and denotes continuous form and still cannot be written in present perfect continuous or simple present continuous?

  • She is living in Chandigarh from 3 years is not correct English, but your other version is. If the lady has moved to another city we would say She lived in Chandigarh for three years [before moving to...]. – Kate Bunting Jun 17 at 15:49
  • @Kate Bunting...I checked various websites and now I understand the first one is ungrammatical. But can there be any sentence which is present perfect (depicting continuous) and cannot be written in present perfect continuous? – Sudhir Sharma Jun 17 at 16:20
  • Stative verbs are not used in the continuous form, for example "to know" or "to own". You can say: "I have known him for 10 years". It is present perfect continuing into the present. "I have knowing him" is incorrect. – anouk Jun 17 at 16:26
  • anouk...then also stative verbs can act as dynamic verbs. For instance 'Owning a car is very expensive' or 'the importance of knowing the planet radius'. – Sudhir Sharma Jun 17 at 16:31
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"She has been in Chandigarh for 3 years" and "She has been living in Chandigarh for 3 years" are synonymous, and imply that she is still there. If the speaker wanted to indicate that she is no longer there, he could write "She had been in Chandigarh for 3 years" or "She was in Chandigarh for 3 years". Either of those imply that there was a 3 year period she was there, but she is no longer there.

"She is living in Chandigarh from 3 years." is incorrect English. I gather that the construction is common to Hindi or some other common Indian language, since I mostly see and hear that from people who learned English in that country.

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  • Good point. Indian English is a whole other thing, and if OP would like an answer in regards to the rules of that specific regional variety, they might have to ask elsewhere. – Wehage Jun 17 at 15:55
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(1) "She has been in Chandigarh for 3 years." We generally interpret as that she lived for three in Chandigarh but now she lives somewhere else.

It does not imply that she now lives elsewhere. For that you might say "she was/lived in Chandigarh for 3 years" (past simple).

(2) She is living in Chandigarh from 3 years

This is ungrammatical, not a matter of style.

(3) She has been living in Chandigarh for 3 years.

There is no semantic difference between (1) and (3); they are both acceptable.

Can you add any example which is present perfect and denotes continuous form and still cannot be written in present perfect continuous or simple present continuous?

I cannot.

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  • @Wehage..My concern is the difference between present perfect (depicting continuous) and present perfect continuous. Is there any distinction between two? – Sudhir Sharma Jun 17 at 16:25

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