Context : Let say, I have just joined to a company and I want to ask my new friend how long he has been working here.

Using Present perfect:

How long have you worked here ?


using Present perfect continuous tense ?

How long have you been working here ?

According to the image below:

diagram showing past/present/future timeline

Image credit: http://www.englishpage.com/verbpage/presentperfectcontinuous.html

So my answer is using present perfect continuous because I think he started in the past and he's still working at that office now. Am I right ?

Please include the reason on your answer as well.

1 Answer 1


Either would be correct in this context.

Generally, the present perfect simple tense describes what has been happened so far, while the present perfect continuous suggests that something is ongoing or unfinished. The distinction isn't strong enough in this question to make a big difference.

Looking at two possible responses to the question might highlight the differences better.

(present perfect simple) I've worked here five years and I've loved every moment of it!

(present perfect continuous) I've been working here five years, but it's only recently that I was transferred to this office.

Similarly, one could say:

(present perfect simple) He's worked three hours today [he might work more, or he might go home after this].

(present perfect continuous) He's been working the whole morning [and he's still not done with his work].

  • I don't get it "I've been working here five years, but it's only recently that I was transferred to this office." Does "here" means "same company" but he's transferred to branch office (different office) ? Can you tell me the differences between perfect and perfect continous ?
    – mockie
    Sep 12, 2014 at 13:17
  • Right, "here" means "this organization/company/firm..." while "this office" means "this particular location out of the many offices we have". The difference is that PPS implies "I've worked here for X years" without saying whether that state will continue. By contrast, PPC implies "I've worked here for X years" and strongly suggests that it will continue. Sep 12, 2014 at 13:18
  • So,can I tell perfect is not necessarily to continue BUT perfect continues is definitely will continue ?
    – mockie
    Sep 12, 2014 at 13:31

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