grammar talk

a place to discuss grammar questions...

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Grammar questions

A: Mr. Lee is a recent immigrant, isn't he?
How long has he been in this country?
B: I have no idea, but I'll be seeing Mr. Lee this afternoon.
Would you like me to ask him how long he has lived here?
" " how long he has been living here?

Which one is right and why?


Blogger grammar talk said...


The difference between "he has lived here" (present perfect) and "he has been living here" (present perfect progressive, or present perfect continuous) is this. You can measure them both: he has lived here for five years; he has been living here for five years. In the first, maybe he is moving today. You have made no claim about today or tomorrow; five years is finished today but maybe he's moving today also.
In the second, you have combined the idea of finished (five years) with the idea that he is still living here today. If you want to use that idea, go ahead! People often do.
However, if the original question is just in present perfect, it's often best to stay in present perfect.

I hope that helps! It's actually a very complicated question, and one where the difference might have different shades at different times. In this case, they both sound very similar to me!

-Tom Leverett

1:48 PM  
Blogger grammar talk said...

Great explanation!

9:55 PM  
Blogger PEACE said...

Wow. so helpful and great!!

8:44 AM  

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