In a test I found this sentence about a young designer called Sue Thomas.

She has sold clothes to a lot of famous people including film stars and singers, and she thinks she will be rich soon.

I am wondering if "has been selling" can fit; in this case is it a stylistic choice? I think that choosing present perfect simple is to show that she has managed to do this as a proof of her success.

However, we can also think that this fact of "selling to famous people" will continue in the future, so present perfect continuous shall be good, even if "selling to famous people" does not happen every day.

But as the present "sells" is given as another good solution, we can think that it is now common for this designer to sell to celebrities.


PAGE 7 for the solution

  • 1
    "has been selling" might carry a slightly different meaning in your context because it strongly implies she's still selling to famous people right now, where "has sold" simply means in the past (feasibly a long time ago). Jan 1, 2022 at 17:46
  • @user5577 - Quotation marks need to be around the quoted text and they can't touch other words. It actually makes it hard to read your questions when the punctuation is in the wrong place. Not a huge deal, but if people see that you have made an effort to do your best in asking the question, they may be more willing to answer it.
    – cruthers
    Jan 1, 2022 at 18:07
  • @cruthers Yeah, this question had several formatting issues. I made some edits that should help improve its readability. Jan 1, 2022 at 22:12
  • This is a very low-quality worksheet. It was generated with some combination of low skill and poor effort, which is unfortunately very common in Internet ESL content. These sentences are stilted and unnatural, and the blanks can have correct answers beyond the intended answer of whoever created them. For example, answer (1) could also be, "has made", and (6) could be "spoke". You're right that "has been selling" is correct in that blank
    – gotube
    Jan 1, 2022 at 22:32

1 Answer 1


In general, the present perfect can be used to indicate action that happened at an unspecified previous time or action that happened at an earlier time but is continuing into the present. The original version of this sentence ("she has sold clothes") can be interpreted in either of those ways.

The progressive (continuous) aspect indicates that the action is ongoing. Thus, your proposal ("she has been selling clothes") is more likely to suggest the latter interpretation (i.e., she has sold clothes in the past and is continuing to do so).

I agree that because this second version more strongly suggests that the action continues into the present, it more strongly suggests that the action may continue into the future. However, neither version mandates that. If the author wanted to make that clear, then he or she would need to do so explicitly.

You also mention that the simple present tense version ("she sells clothes") is given as an answer. This is certainly grammatically correct but does not indicate anything about previous or future times.

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