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Would you please tell me if there is any difference in meaning between the present continuous the present perfect continuous when talking about temporary habitual actions? For example:

I'm going to the gym every week.
I've been going to the gym every week.

Kate is binging on TV shows lately.
Kate has been binging on TV shows lately.

Leech Jeoffry in his book named Meaning of the English Verb says that the present continous and the present perfect continuous can be used to talk about temporary habits, but he didn't explain the difference in meaning between the two when used in that sense. Is there any?

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  • In the first example it is clear that the first one states their practice/intention and the second states the recent history. The second example is muddied by using 'lately' in both versions. Nov 11, 2022 at 23:26

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In a nutshell, the difference is that in the present continuous version, there's more focus on how temporary the situation is, whereas with the present perfect version there's more focus on the span of time it's been happening, and indirectly the results in the present.

These are the normal functions of present continuous and present perfect.

So with the gym example, those sentences might have contexts like these:

I'm going to the gym every week. We'll see how long it lasts.

I've been going to the gym every week. I'm so proud of myself, and check out these abs!

Tangent: "Kate is binging on TV shows lately" is highly unnatural and arguably ungrammatical because "lately" does not naturally describe a present, temporary ongoing activity. It means it started in the recent past and continues to the present, which is textbook present perfect. If you replace "lately" with "these days", then naturalness is restored:

Kate is binging on TV shows these days.

This sentence now has the same function as the one about the gym.

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