Which sentence is grammatically correct (or maybe both) and why?

  1. I have been studying for my exam since lunchtime and now I am watching TV. or
  2. I had been studying for my exam since lunchtime and now I am watching TV.

The situation is as follows (it's from a student's book):

  • Is that the TV I can hear?
  • Yes, Dad. I (to study) for my exam since lunchtime, and now I (to watch) TV.

I believe the Present Perfect Continuous has to be used here since I haven't passed the exam and taking a break now. On the other hand, there is no visible result of my activity, as in "I'm exhausted. I've been studying for an exam", and the speaker has stopped/finished studying.

Thank you in advance.

  • What exactly is you confusion, can you please edit your question and add more detail? I'm sure you would prefer an answer that explains "why" rather than saying 1 or 2 or neither is correct.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 24, 2021 at 5:44
  • This sentence is from a textbook (complete the gaps with the verbs in the correct tense).
    – Ala
    Jul 24, 2021 at 5:55
  • And the gap is where you placed "have/had been"? Is the present participle "studying" in the actual sentence or does the exercise ask you to complete the sentence using the verb "study"?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 24, 2021 at 5:59
  • Yeah, sorry. It should be "hear" -Is that the TV I can hear?
    – Ala
    Jul 24, 2021 at 6:17

1 Answer 1


In English we use the present perfect continuous for either an action than started sometime in the past and continues to the present or for a recently completed action

  • ”I have been studying since lunchtime…”

the speaker needs a break from studying, and changes activity

  • “and now I'm watching TV”

On the other hand, the past perfect continuous is used to express a continued or ongoing action that started in the past and continued sometime in the past. The action began in the past, continued in the past and (usually) ended in the past e.g. “She had been doing her homework since lunchtime, and now needed a break”

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