Is "to close her eyes" a one-off action or a prolong one?

I think there are some verbs used to express some actions that can not be prolonged.

For example, "I have been finishing the homework for 1 hour" because when you finish it, it just happens right away.

When we say "she closes her eyes", it's hard to say but I think "She has been closing her eyes for 1 hour" sounds wrong because that closing-eyes action only takes about 1 sec to complete it.

Do you say "She has been closing her eyes for 1 hour" or "Her eyes have been closed for 1 hour"?

And "She is closing her eyes now so I don't see them" or "Her eyes are closed now so I don't see them"?

1 Answer 1


You're right that close one's eyes is punctual, and you wouldn't normally use it in a progressive form. But your two sentences differ in animacy. While

Her eyes have been closed for an hour.

is perfectly good, if you want to bring the sleeper into it, you can say

She has had her eyes closed for an hour.

But you are wrong about finish. While intransitive finish is punctual (eg the meeting finished), transitive finish need not be: to finish my homework often means "doing the last part of my homework", and might be a continuing process. So

I have been finishing my homework for an hour.

is OK; but you would not use it if you have in fact done the whole of your homework in that hour: it implies that at the start of the hour, you believed you were close to the end.

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