3

For example:

It's 9:00 p.m and at 7 p.m the electricity went off.

Which tense is correct and what is the difference in meaning between these tenses?

The electricity has been going off for 2 hours.

The electricity has been off for 2 hours.

Thank you.

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  • 1
    Although I have "flagged" this question to ask if the moderators will migrate it to ELL, they won't necessarily take any notice of my one voice. But if you ask for it to be migrated, I'm sure they will act. I think you will find ELL more helpful if you have any further questions. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Nov 15 '15 at 18:16
  • And another idiomatic way to say it is, “The power’s been out for 2 hours.” – Jim Nov 16 '15 at 6:09
  • There are many ways. I'd prefer saying: "There is no power/electricity for past two hours." – Maulik V Nov 16 '15 at 10:53
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    That's ungrammatical, though. – snailplane Nov 16 '15 at 11:43
5

Both wordings are correct ways of describing different things.

Normally, "has been going off" would be used with the implication "has been going off and on"—meaning "has been on and off intermittently" during the specified time period. In fact, the full expression, "has been going off and on," is quite a bit more common than the shortened but implied form "has been going off [and on]" as a way of describing multiple interruptions in normal service.

In contrast, "has been off" indicates simply an uninterrupted period of being off: there has been no electricity (in this case) for the past two hours.

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