The farmer has been away from home for many days. This morning, his cottage suddenly began to burn. Up to now, it's been burning for two hours.

Can I change this boldface sentence to the following without altering its meaning?

Up to now, it's been burned for two hours.

  • 2
    The construction X has been burned for two hours would mean X was burned two hours ago (by a single "action" that took place at that point in the past). But it's not very idiomatic, and I can't easily think of any contexts where anyone might actually say those words. Jan 7, 2022 at 12:21
  • So do you mean "X has been burned" can't go with a period of time? Just like "I've learned to swim" can't go with a period of time?
    – Stephen
    Jan 7, 2022 at 13:22
  • 2
    That's right. The cottage was burned down/destroyed by fire two days ago or The cottage has been burned down. It happened two days ago> Jan 7, 2022 at 13:39
  • Thank you very much.
    – Stephen
    Jan 7, 2022 at 13:41

1 Answer 1


No, you would say "It's been burning for two hours" This is a continuous sense (indicated by the "for two hours") and so the continuous aspect is favoured.

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