He has hunted deer for years. He has been hunting deer for years.

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stephenlearner

Senior Member
Chinese
Grammar books say present perfect simple puts emphasis on the result, while present perfect continuous puts emphasis on the course or duration (not the result).

I don't know how to apply this distinction to these two sentences:

He has hunted deer for years.
He has been hunting deer for years.

Does the first sentence stresses he has hunted while the second stresses for years?

Thank you very much.
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    That comment is irrelevant when you add a time period. It’s the phrase “for years” that allows has hunted to express duration without adding the progressive aspect.
     

    stephenlearner

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    What‘s difference between them? I think they have, but I don't know.
    He has hunted deer for years.
    He has been hunting deer for years.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Grammar books say present perfect simple puts emphasis on the result, while present perfect continuous puts emphasis on the course or duration (not the result).

    I don't know how to apply this distinction to these two sentences:

    He has hunted deer for years.
    He has been hunting deer for years.

    Does the first sentence stresses he has hunted while the second stresses for years?

    Thank you very much.
    If you remove "for years" from each sentence you get sentences that can be understood as the "grammar rule" indicates. However, as lingo noted, once you add (the context of) "for years" that changes everything and the two sentences end up meaning the same thing.
     

    Steven David

    Senior Member
    English
    Grammar books say present perfect simple puts emphasis on the result, while present perfect continuous puts emphasis on the course or duration (not the result).

    I don't know how to apply this distinction to these two sentences:

    He has hunted deer for years.
    He has been hunting deer for years.

    Does the first sentence stresses he has hunted while the second stresses for years?

    Thank you very much.

    Present perfect places our focus on completion of time. Present perfect, non-progressive, tells us something started in the past and continues up until now. Whether or not it continues after now depends on the context.

    Present perfect progressive places our focus on ongoing time up until now. In other words, it's just what the name suggests: progression. Whether or not this activity continues after now depends on the context.

    Native speakers of English choose one or the other depending on their viewpoint in context. This occurs automatically. We can call it automatic processing. In other words, it's not something native speakers of English think about.

    I recommend observing and noticing which one native speakers of English choose in context. So this would come with reading, watching movies, listening to the news, listening to narrations, TED talks, and whatever else there is out there online.

    Again, it has to do with viewpoint in context. Native speakers of English are not aware of their viewpoint in context. They just speak.

    ____________

    We know from context the difference between:
    He has been running for two hours. Really continuously.
    He has been running for two years. It is a habit.
    This calls to mind an example, or examples, of speaker viewpoint in context.

    He's been running for two years. Yes, of course, it's very unlikely that he's been running continuously for two years unless we're talking about the law.

    He's been running from the law for two years. Of course, here, running does not mean physically, or literally, running. It means evading the law for two years. And, of course, we use running figuratively.
     
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