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I have been working on tenses of English and I have been confusing about present perfect and present perfect continuous. So, I wonder about the repair verb with present perfect and present perfect continuous.

I haven’t repaired my bike since 2012

and

I haven’t been repairing my bike since 2012

If I didn’t repair my bike in past and I am still keeping this behavior, I have to use present perfect continuous. But I saw someone use present perfect in many source.

The _English Grammar in Use book uses both sentences dependent on content.

So, when we select appropriate tense, must we decide depending on content? Which is correct?

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  • Yes, context is important. I haven’t repaired my bike since 2012 is probably what you mean, instead of not repairing and not repairing again. I have been confusing about is not smooth. Commented Mar 13, 2022 at 14:35
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    You could say "I've been repairing my (own) bike since 2012" meaning that, on those occasions when it has needed repair, you have done the work yourself rather than pay someone else to do it. (Obviously you haven't been working on it continuously for ten years!) But "I haven't been repairing..." sounds decidedly odd. Commented Mar 13, 2022 at 14:52
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    There's nothing syntactically wrong with using the continuous in your context, but there are very few contexts where it's actually idiomatic to do so. Per that link, we rarely even use the continuous for ...haven't been smoking [for years], but even that smoking context is far more likely to accept the continuous than repairing (smoking is a known continuous activity). Commented Mar 13, 2022 at 14:54
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    We have a different word for the continuous version of repairing - maintaining. So that is why it sounds off. It just isn't needed for that concept.
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Mar 13, 2022 at 15:35
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    If you are confusing, you are at fault. If you are confused, you are not at fault. Big difference, but not a tense difference. Commented Mar 13, 2022 at 17:14

2 Answers 2

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Both statements say that from some time in 2012 up until the present you have not performed any repair work on your bike. Both statements suggest that something changed in 2012, though neither statement rigorously implies that there was such a change. The changes suggested by the two statements are slightly different. The second - I haven't been repairing my bike since 2012 suggests that until that year I did any repair work that was necessary. The first - I haven't repaired my bike since 2012 suggests that I repaired my bike in that year, but doesn't suggest that I was doing all the repairs until that time.

Either sentence could be an idiomatic response to a friend who saw you were getting somebody else to do your bike repairs and commented "I thought you did all your own bike repairs".

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Both are correct.

present perfect tense- I haven’t repaired my bike since 2012.

present perfect continuous tense- I haven’t been repairing my bike since 2012.

The present perfect tense focuses on the result of the activity.

The present perfect continuous tense focuses on the activity. It does not matter whether the action has been finished or not.

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