5

Yesterday, my English teacher told me that if you use present perfect continuous, you need to have a connection with the present.

So, my question is, if it's 10pm, is it wrong If I say to my wife:

What have you been doing all morning?

3

Yes, you need to have a connection to the present. We use Present Perfect Continuous to show that something started in the past and has continued up until now.

Example:

You have been reading this book for two hours?

This means that the person is still engaged in reading the book.

if you are asking her this at 10AM, you are actually asking her what she has been doing, let's say, from 7AM till the point of your asking.

If you are asking her this at 10PM, this tense would be wrong.

The correct tense would be Past Continuous which we use to talk about some action going on at a certain time in the past.

What were you doing all morning?

2

Indeed, the present perfect simple is also used to connect the past event with the present, but its main difference is that it's a completed action. When using the continuous form, it's an action that began in the past and is still in progress in the present, hence, not yet completed.

Present perfect continuous

We use the present perfect continuous

  1. for actions that have been happening recently and repeatedly.
    We've been playing a new computer game recently.
    I've been working hard this term.
  2. with dynamic verbs to say how long an action has been in progress. (We use for, since or how long.)
    Jake has been watching TV for three hours.
  3. To explain a current situation in terms of recent events.
    I'm tired because I've been playing tennis.

Note that the continuous form emphasises the action, compare:

I've been reading The Hobbit = I'm half away through.
I've read The Hobbit = It was great.

  • If you are quoting something can you please cite what you are quoting and give a link? – Alan Carmack Mar 19 '16 at 16:18
  • Also the present perfect continuous is also used for recently completed actions: I've been jogging the past hour. (But now I'm at home.) Point 3 possibly refers to this but your statement it's an action that began in the past and is still in progress in the present, hence, not yet completed is not correct regarding this usage. – Alan Carmack Mar 19 '16 at 16:19
2

Language is much more robust and flexible than patterns learned in a textbook. Your sentence is fine if you want to imply that 10pm is still part of your wife's morning. Even if she gets up at 7am but does nothing all day one could ask at 10pm What have you been doing all morning? This might be rather harsh and possibly insulting since you are basically saying that at 10pm it is still the "morning" for your wife. At any rate that is the connection to the present that allows the use of the present perfect continuous.

Also, In addition to usernew's statement that "We use the Present Perfect Continuous to show that something started in the past and has continued up until now", we also use the present perfect continuous to refer to a recently completed action:

A: Where have you been?
B: I've been running for an hour.

B will say this after he has (recently or just) finished running and is now back at home or wherever.

0

here is what is found in oxford Advanced learner's dictionary The present perfect is used:
to talk about something that happened during a period of time that is not yet finished

example: The train has been late three times this week.

He still hasn’t visited her.

So I think completed action is not the difference

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