Background: My name is Ali. I live in IRAN and my mother tounge is Farsi. My reference book in studying grammar is English Grammar in Use written by Raymond Murphy and I am sure you are familiar with this book.

Problem: One part of the book which I found confusing is the difference between present perfect continuous and simple. The unclear point (for me) is that writer has not specified in continuous form the action is in progress in present time or has recently or just stopped. Actually both of them has mentioned in unit 9 (my book is third edition).

For example

you are out of breath. Have you been running?

By the presumption that continuous form is for an action which is still going on we see our friend running doing exercises maybe jumping up and down then why asking question? The question would be something informative if we wanted to make sure he had been running regarding his tiredness or red face and being out of breath. Do you think you could help me with this problem?


1 Answer 1


Though the Present Perfect Continuous tense is usually used to show that an action had started sometime in the past, and is still continuing, the Present Perfect Continuous tense can also be used to give the meaning "Recently". By using the tense in this way, you are implying that you can sense the after-effects of the action. In the sentence you supplied,for example, the speaker has assumed that the subject had been running by observing that the subject was out of breath. Hence the Present Perfect Continuous tense was used.

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