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Here I know I have one present perfect and present perfect continuous sentence.

  • I have lived in Europe for 2 years.
  • I have been living in Europe for 2 years.

Can you use both of them interchangeably? What is the exact difference between them? To me both suggest that the person is still living in Europe.

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The two are interchangeable if you intend a continuative reading: that you have lived in Europe for the two years leading to the present moment.

okI have lived in Europe for two years, and will not leave until next year.
okI have been living in Europe for two years, and will not leave until next year.

But if you intend an existential reading, signifying that you lived in Europe for two years on at least one occasion in the past, you cannot use the progressive construction:

okI am widely travelled: I have lived in Europe for two years, in Brazil for nearly five, and in Singapore for three. BUT
I am widely travelled: I have been living in Europe for two years, in Brazil for nearly five, and in Singapore for three.


For a somewhat more detailed description of these distinct uses of the perfect, see What is the perfect, and how should I use it?, especially §3.2 Pragmatic meaning.

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  • Can we use 'had lived' instead of 'have lived' in the third sentense in the pink boxs? – JBL Aug 21 '16 at 8:51
  • @JBL No, because the main-clause verb is in present tense and your 'Reference Time' (the time you are talking about) is the present; but the eventualities expressed with a past perfect have to be prior to some past Reference Time. – StoneyB Aug 21 '16 at 13:20

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