Please explain the difference

1) I Hadn't been doing the Task since 29th April 2) I haven't been doing the task since 29th April

As I understand an exact time cannot be used with Present Perfect?

  • "As I understand an exact time cannot be used with Present Perfect?" - that's actually not quite true, depending on whether you consider since April 29th an "exact time" or not.
    – stangdon
    May 25, 2016 at 13:50
  • Oh okk, so which sentence makes more sense May 25, 2016 at 13:52

1 Answer 1


An exact date can be used with Present perfect:

I have been working here since May 15th.

I can't think of a context where I would use either of your sentences, so I'll try and explain the difference between both verbal structures. This is tense sequencing:

I have been doing this for 3 hours, I'm exhausted.

I had been doing this for 3 hours when my mom walked in.

In the first case, we're in the present: the speaker has started doing something 3 hours ago, and is still doing it. Hence, he's exhausted.

In the second case, we're telling a story in the past: the speaker had started to do something a few hours earlier, then his mom walked in.

What did you want to say in your sentence exactly ?


The only context where I can see your second sentence is in a discussion such as:

Have you been doing this task since April 28th ?

No, I haven't been doing this task since April 28th, I have only been doing it since May 03rd.

But it is still very weird.

  • I want to say that I was not able to do the task since April 29th May 25, 2016 at 14:00
  • This page says we cannot use exact time with present perfect englishpage.com/verbpage/presentperfect.html May 25, 2016 at 14:02
  • 1
    @user3608985 This is not quite true. The actual rule is that the present perfect is a present tense, so you cannot use the PrPf with a time expression which does not include the present, But the preposition since, when used with the present perfect defines a timeSPAN which runs from the named time up to the present, so that's OK. May 25, 2016 at 14:41
  • 1
    @user3608985, the rule means you can't say something like "I haven't done it on April 28th." You can say "I haven't done it since April 28th". That's not an exact time, it's a timeSPAN, as StoneyB says.
    – JavaLatte
    May 25, 2016 at 18:26

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