I am very much confused with two aspects which are perfect aspect and present perfect continuous.

From the sentences below I am not sure what to use..

Perfect aspect:

I've lived here for ten years.

Perfect Continuous aspect:

I've been living here for ten years.

  • To complete my answer, and be more specific, in your case the main difference is that you may or may not live 'here' when you use the first sentence but in the second sentence you live 'here' at the moment for sure. Aug 21, 2014 at 8:10
  • For some related info on the present perfect, there's this post: ell.stackexchange.com/a/30051/8758
    – F.E.
    Aug 21, 2014 at 17:18

4 Answers 4


To my American ear, in your examples, there is absolutely no difference between the two forms, which, in fact, give the same information. This is possible with the verb "live" because it's a dynamic verb that lends itself to either a continuous or a perfect interpretation. This would be true of any such verb which designates ongoing action, as opposed to resultative verbs, where the perfect would express the result or completion of the action:

I've been dating her for ten months.

I've dated her for ten months.

In the southern states, you sometimes hear "know" used like this in reference to people:

How long have you been knowing him? (=southern)

How long have you known him?

With resultative verbs, there would be two different interpretations:

I've been planning this event for five years. (=started five years ago and still planning it)

I've planned this event for five years. (=every year, the same yearly event)

  • I've planned this event for five years. (=every year, the same yearly event) - I wonder why it has necessarily be a yearly event? What if he planned the event only 3 times within the 5 years?
    – user1425
    Feb 21, 2015 at 16:11
  • "live" is NOT a stative verb.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 25, 2018 at 9:12
  • Thank you, Mary-Lou, I wanted to express that it represented a sort of state of being and chose the wrong term)))
    – CocoPop
    Jul 26, 2018 at 23:03

I've borrowed the following from the British Council as it's a very complete answer. However, before you start to read it, I should mention that the 3rd and 4th notes seem to be the most important and common differences between the two tenses. Anyway, to be loyal to the original post, I won't change the order.

Present Perfect Simple and Present Perfect Continuous

We use the present perfect tense to talk about things where there is a connection between the past and the present.

  • He’s written 16 books.

He started writing books at some time in the past. So far, he has written 16 books. He may write more books.

As well as the present perfect simple, we can use the present perfect continuous tense to talk about events with a connection to the present.

1 Look at these 2 sentences:

  • I’ve been decorating the house this summer. The focus is on the action – decorating – and the action is unfinished.
  • I’ve painted the living room blue. The focus is on the finished result. The activity is finished but we can see the result now.

We use the present perfect continuous when the focus is on an activity that is unfinished.

2 Look at these two sentences.

  • I’ve read that book you lent me. I finished it yesterday.
  • I’ve been reading that book you lent me. I’ve got another 50 pages to read.

The present perfect simple (I’ve read) gives the idea of completion while the present perfect continuous (I’ve been reading) suggests that something is unfinished.

3 Look at these two sentences.

  • She’s been writing emails for 3 hours.
  • She’s written 10 messages.

The present perfect continuous (has been writing) talks about how long something has been happening. The present perfect simple (has written) talks about how much/how many have been completed.

Oxford Practice Grammar highlights this issue, too.

4 Look at these two sentences.

  • I’ve worked here for thirty years.
  • I usually work in London but I’ve been working in Birmingham for the last 3 weeks.

We can use the present perfect simple to talk about how long when we view something as permanent. But the present perfect continuous is often used to show that something is temporary.

Please note that we normally don't use the PPS with a state verb like know, have, be, etc.

In summary, I think the main (not the only) difference is that we use the Present Perfect Simple to mention the result of something and the Present Perfect Continues when we think of the activity itself.

For more information I refer you to the "Oxford Practice Grammar" unit 17.


The expression for ten years indicates that both examples express actions which began in the past and continue in the present:

  1. I’ve lived here for ten years.
  2. I’ve been living here for ten years.

So, the time sequence is the same but the second example shows the continuous aspect.


The construction have been living here talks about your status in past but continued till now. On the other hand if you have lived here means this is the place, you lived, at least once in your lifetime.

That said, the first sentence could be a storytelling to friend and both of you are talking about that place. While in Bronx, you may say, "I have lived here for ten years." This means at least once in your lifetime, you lived in Bronx. But you don't live here anymore.

On the other hand, the second sentence talks about your current status stretched from the past. You are probably in your house, in Bronx and telling your friend that it has been over 10 years you are living in Bronx. For example, you came to Bronx in 2004 and still living here.

  • Your second paragraph is about "I lived" but the OP is asking about "I've lived."
    – CocoPop
    Aug 21, 2014 at 13:20
  • I missed it but still I'll stand by my answer
    – Maulik V
    Aug 21, 2014 at 13:26
  • 1
    "This means at least once in your lifetime, you lived in Bronx. But you don't live here anymore." Actually, I think it means you still live there, and it's been ten years since you started living there. The experiential reading might be technically possible but it's rather difficult to coerce it from "I have lived here for ten years", at least without further context and explanation.
    – user230
    Aug 21, 2014 at 19:22

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