She hasn't been listening/hasn't listened to me for the last five minutes.

I'd like to ask you if both versions are correct. Is there a difference in meaning between the two? "She hasn't been listening" maybe means that she is still not paying attention, while "She hasn't listened" means that she may just have started listening, after a 5-minute "distraction".

Is my reasoning wrong?

Moreover, I thought that the continuous form (negative or positive) emphasises the duration/repetition of the action; so, in the example I've given, "She hasn't been listening" stresses the fact that the action has been on for some minutes, while "She hasn't listened" is more neutral.

Thanks a lot for your help!

2 Answers 2


Your reasoning is correct, The difference is Just about the been, she hasn't been listening... Without been she started to pay attention after the five minutes,with been she still not paying attention.


The continuous form is the better one here.

Continuous verbs express actions happening without break over a duration, so with continuous, the sentence means:

"During the span of the last five minutes, she wasn't listening to me and still isn't."

Verbs without the continuous aspect tend to indicate individual events rather than one continuous event, so it sounds something like, "She hasn't once chosen to listen to me over the last five minutes." If that's still unclear, imagine you've been giving advice to someone for years, and they never follow it. You might say, "She hasn't listened to me for the last five years." That's what it sounds like without continuous, but in this case, only for the last five minutes.

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