A habitual situation with or without a pause?

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Hiden

Senior Member
japanese
A non-native speaker of English told me as follows:

If you say “I have studied for 3 years and now I am studying”, it means that between those 3 years and now there might have been a pause in studying. If you say “I have been studying for 3 years and still now studying”, it shows continuity.

Is it true? I think that the normal interpretation of “I have studied English and I’m still doing it”, when we assume that the situation will continue through the present moment into the future, is that a habitual situation is continuing without a break other than natural breaks which exist due to its habitual nature.
 
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  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    If you say “I have studied for 3 years and now I am studying”, it means that between those 3 years and now there might have been a pause in studying.
    There can be other interpretations in other contexts, but that is the commonest.
    Usually, it would be understood as “I have studied for 3 years and now I am studying again.”

    I think that the normal interpretation of “I have studied English and I’m still doing it”,
    But this is (i) a different verb and (ii) you have added "English" and therefore the meaning is different for the first example. In the first example we did not know what had been studied in the past or presently.
     

    Hiden

    Senior Member
    japanese
    Thank you for your insight, PaulQ-san. Then, which interpretation is normal for "I have studied English and I’m still doing it"?
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    As you say, a habitual situation is continuing without a break other than natural breaks which exist due to its habitual nature.
     

    Hiden

    Senior Member
    japanese
    Thank you for your answer, PaulQ-san! That is a big help. You're always helpful. Again thank you. !(^^)!
     

    Hiden

    Senior Member
    japanese
    PualQ-san! The example should have been "I have studied English for 3 years and I'm still doing it." Even if we add "for 3 years" to the sentence, doesn't it change the interpretation that a habitual situation is continuing without a break other than natural breaks which exist due to its habitual nature?
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    A non-native speaker of English told me as follows:

    If you say “I have studied for 3 years and now I am studying”, :confused:it means that between those 3 years and now there might have been a pause in studying. If you say “I have been studying for 3 years and still now studying”, it shows continuity.
    I am very glad that it was a non-native speaker who came up with this notion. The expression of the idea is deeply flawed, at least in my understanding of the idea. We have a verb tense form which exactly expresses this idea, as I understand it.
    It seems to me that to express this idea, (in this sort of context), we need the present perfect continuous, which joins the past with the present in an on-going or continual fashion. The present perfect continous is ideal for expressing 'continuing' or uninterrupted state of activity, or indeed a continuous state of being, depending on the verb, usually stative or dynamic.

    ... a habitual situation is continuing without a break other than natural breaks which exist due to its habitual nature.
    :thumbsup:

    "I've been studying the history of art for ten years".
    This does not mean 'without interruption': study is a 'dynamic' verb. My 'studies/studying' might have been interrupted, for example by holidays or illness.

    'I've been interested in the history of art for ten years.'
    This is a stative expression, which has nothing to do with activity.
     
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    Hiden

    Senior Member
    japanese
    My question is: Which interpretation is more natural for "I have studied English for 3 years and I’m still doing it”, (a) or (b)?
    (a) A habitual situation is continuing without a break other than natural breaks which exist due to its habitual nature.
    (b) A pause might exist between those 3 years and now.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    My question is: Which interpretation is more natural for "I have studied English for 3 years and I’m still doing it”, (a) or (b)?
    (a) A habitual situation is continuing without a break other than natural breaks which exist due to its habitual nature.
    (b) A pause might exist between those 3 years and now.
    My answer is to use the present perfect continuous, "I have been studying ..." .
    I'm not sure what you mean by your 'interpretation'.
     
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