have been coughing vs have coughed

monkeyaug

Banned
korean
What are the differnces between the following two sentences?

I have been coughing for the past 1 week.
I have coughed for the past 1 week.

If I say ' I have coughed for the past 1 week', does it mean I am still coughing? or I have stopped coughing? It's really confusing.
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I have been coughing for the last week, to me, means that you have been coughing for a week and you still are.

    If you want to indicate that you've stopped, you might say: I was coughing for the last week, but I'm better now.

    It's useful to remember that language is for communication and there is no reason to put too much pressure on a single short sentence to get your message across -- especially when it leaves you wondering yourself. Just add a few more words -- "but I'm better now" -- and put everyone's mind at ease. :)

    Although I have coughed for the last week also has that sense of coughing for a week, I'm more inclined to use your first sentence. The continuous tense of have been coughing is very useful here to get that meaning across.

    One last thing: you don't need "past one week." We understand it's one week without the "one."
     

    monkeyaug

    Banned
    korean
    If I just say ' I have coughed badly', without mentioning the specific time duration, does the listner think I still cough or I don't cough anymore?
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Monkeyaug, that sentence sounds strange to me. Have coughed seems to refer to a single instance of coughing, rather than a bout of coughing. But I wouldn't understand the need to use the perfective here: I would expect I coughed badly if that is the meaning. If the meaning is that there have been many instances of coughing, you need to use the progressive (continuous) have been coughing.
     
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