Please have a look at this sentence (Viv Quarry present perfect answers)

When I left school I cut my hair and have worn it short ever since.

Will it be possible to use the continuous form "I have been wearing" if I still wear my hair short(unfinished action)

  • 2
    Both are fine, and it would be futile to look for any subtle nuance at the level of meaning. But I might prefer kept over worn (because I don't really think in terms of wearing my hair [style]), and it would be relatively unusual to say ...I have been keeping it short ever since. For the general case, there's no special reason to use a more complex verb form in this context, so my advice is to stick to the simple past. It's easier. – FumbleFingers Apr 3 '15 at 17:04

I think the verb "wear" used in the sentence is not a stative or possessive verb that cannot be used in the continuous tenses. For example, I met him five years ago and I have liked him ever since. We cannot say "I met him five years ago and I have been liking him ever since". On the other hand, in case of action verbs, you can use either the present perfect or the present perfect continuous. For example, it's correct to say "I started smoking in 1978 and have smoked/have been smoking ever since.

I think it's grammatically correct to use either the present perfect or the present perfect continuous in the sentence, that is, has worn or has been wearing. However, you usually use the present perfect in such sentences.


Yes, both are idiomatic.

In some contexts, there might be some difference in meaning between the two phrasings. For example:

She unplugged the radio, but a year later I have still heard the eerie music.

has a slightly different shade of meaning than:

She unplugged the radio, but a year later I have still been hearing the eerie music.

The second implies a continuous action: the ghostly music has been playing all year. The first is ambiguous: it might have been heard once or continuously. The example you give resolves this ambiguity with the phrase "ever since," and so the two phrasings are, for all intents and purposes, identical in meaning.

  • 2
    -1 neither of your examples sound natural to me. – FumbleFingers Apr 4 '15 at 1:59
  • 1
    "... but a year later I am still hearing the eerie music.* – Peter Shor Jun 6 '15 at 19:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.