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Please look at the following sentences.

  1. Having lived with him for 25 years I can say a lot about him.
    (I have lived for 25 years and am still living.)
  2. Having lived with him for 25 years I can say a lot about him.
    (I am not living with him now, but lived before for 25 years.)
  3. Having been living for 25 years mean I have been living with him for 25 years.
    (I have been living with him for 25 years and am still living)

Are my interpretations correct? If not, then please correct me.

Similarly, look at the following sentences

  1. Having lived in Dublin all my life, I'm not used to being stopped at checkpoints, harassed and searched, which I was subjected to in Palestine.
  2. Having lived in Bangalore all my life but never having visited Coorg, I decided quite happily to tag along with a bunch of friends to stay at the Last Resort. We drove late night on a Friday from Bangalore to get the most of the place over the weekend.

I am confused as to the meaning of all my life above. All my life should logically include the present moment, but from the sentences above it doesn't seem to be the case. Does all my life in the above sentences mean all the life till then, that is a point in the past and not till now? Is it right?

Thanks.

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Your interpretations of the first three sentences are incorrect. The sentence "Having lived with him for 25 years I can say a lot about him" tells us only that the speaker lived with the subject for 25 years. It tells us nothing about when that 25 years began or ended. Suppose the sentence, instead, were to read:

I lived with him for 25 years, and I can say a lot about him.

The simple past tense of the verb "to live" tells us that the 25 years have passed. It still tells us nothing explicitly about the speaker's current choice of roommate, but the reader may imply that the cohabitation is at an end. Reversing the order of the phrases would make this even more implicit:

For 25 years I lived with him, and I can say a lot about him.

There are ways to convey the same information explicitly, but they sound somewhat awkward to a native speaker:

  1. I used to live with him for 25 years...
  2. I once lived with him for 25 years...

In the alternative case, consider this sentence:

I have been living with him for 25 years, and I can say a lot about him.

The perfect progressive (or continuous) tense here tells us that the length of time is 25 years and still increasing.

Sentences 4 and 5 tell us that the speaker has always lived in, and still lives in, Dublin and Bangalore respectively. The phrase "all my life" in both examples clearly does mean "all my life including the present moment and continuing as my life continues." In sentence 4, the "which" clause emphasizes that the writer still lives in Dublin. Because the past tense is used, we have the sense that he is back in Dublin at the time of writing:

which I was subjected to in Palestine.

To tell the reader that he was formerly a lifelong Dubliner, the phrase would have to be qualified somehow, as in:

Having lived in Dublin all my life until now, I'm not used to being stopped at checkpoints, harassed and searched, which I was subjected to in Palestine.

  • I disagree with you because in #5 the writer might not have been living in Bangalore at the time of writing. He says 'I decided quite happily to tag along with a bunch of friends to stay at the Last Resort ...'. He was living there when he made his decision but there is no indication where he was living later, or is living now. If we were to view from the point of view of when the statement was made, then it makes sense to imagine that all his life means all his life until the moment he decided to visit Coorg. – Policewala Jul 4 '16 at 1:45
  • @Policewala, there is nothing in #5 which informs us that the subject has moved from Bangalore. He tells us only that he has lived there "all my life." Since that life is still going on, a native English speaker (such as I) will take from it that the fellow has always lived, and still lives, in Bangalore. In fact, the succeeding sentence "We drove late night on a Friday from Bangalore to get the most of the place over the weekend" tells us explicitly that he still lives there! Without a modifier, "all my life" does not imply that the speaker's condition has changed, as you seem to imagine. – P. E. Dant Jul 4 '16 at 2:58
  • @Policewala By the way, to explicitly ask to be corrected, and then to disagree with the correction, begs the question: "Why did you seek correction in the first place?" – P. E. Dant Jul 4 '16 at 3:33
  • @P.E.Dant C'mon lets not fall into that "I'm above questioning" attitude. – Leo Jul 4 '16 at 6:01

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