About continuous aspect in this site British council>Continuous aspect, they say that continuous aspect can be used to describe something happening again and again. I don't really understand the example below:

They've been doing that every day this week.

  • As far as I know, in sentece above, present perfect continuous is for emphasizing action, and we could use present perfect simple if they want to emphasize the results instead. Am I correct? Do we have to use continuous aspect this sentence? Why?

  • Their next 2 example is using continuous aspect to talk about annoying/amusing habits (+always), and future habits (will be + V-ing). Are there any other situations that we use continuous to describe something happening again and again? If yes, what are they?

2 Answers 2


The present perfect continuous is used because "that" is a recurring thing, they have been doing it every day (recurring) this week. The speaker is looking back at the end of the week. One of the uses of present perfect continuous is for habitual behaviour over time: "I've been coming here every week since I moved here."

Another use is for temporary habits: "they have been doing it every day this week, but normally they do it once a week."

Your second example is about the present continuous. That is a different tense.


Now I'm not a linguist, so definitely take my answers with a grain of salt.

I think the continuous aspect in the first example is to emphasize the implication that the subject will continue. "They've been doing that every day this week." is an observation of consistent action. Without specified cause or deadline, the subject can be assumed to continue doing whatever they were doing for the foreseeable future at similar intervals.

For the second question, off the top of my head I'd probably say historical events. If something is recurring historically, it will likely be described continuously as it's a pattern in nature, whether it be human, natural, cosmic, or otherwise. Without cause for assumption on the contrary, a statement like "The comet can be observed every 100 years" implies the event has happened every 100 years, and will continue to.

I hope that helps somewhat!

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