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Is this correct?

“I have been walking in the park for 4 hours and have just returned home.”

Or should there be used past perfect continuous/ past simple?

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  • [should there be used??]
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 29 at 23:59

2 Answers 2

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Your sentence is perfectly natural, and implies that after walking in the park you came straight home - the use of the perfect (continuous) indicates that there is a present relevance, which is picked up by the perfect in have just come home.

The alternatives you suggest are unnatural to my ear, unless there is some context which justifies them. An example would be if you have done other things between walking in the park and coming home. Then the use of the simple past would underline that separation.

The past perfect would be odd unless you have already been talking about what you did after walking in the park: that would set the later temporal focus, relative to which the walking in the park was earlier.

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  • +1 for not getting into the BrE/AmE thing.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 29 at 23:59
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The present perfect continuous tense is used for

  1. partially completed events or
  2. interrupted events.

In this case, you have finished walking, so it should be referred to in the past tense or the past perfect tense.

I walked in the park for for hours and have just come home. Or I had been walking in the park for four hours and have just come home.

Or, you could use the present perfect tense and say: I have walked in the park for four hours and have just reached home. This adds a sense that the activity is just finished at the time of making the statement.

Usually, we use the present perfect continuous tense for events that are not yet completed, though colloquially we might say 'I have been waiting for you for three hours' to the person you are waiting when she/he arrives.

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  • This answer is wrong. See my answer.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jan 29 at 23:24

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