I have worked / I have been working

marinesea

Senior Member
Hello, everybody,

Is there a difference between these two sentences:

I have worked here since 1999, and
I have been working here since 1999.

I would also appreciate if somebody could explain me the differenece between using Present Perfect and Present Perfect Continuous on the whole.

Thank you :)
 
  • Saurabh

    Senior Member
    English-British, Hindi
    Hi marinesea

    Basically no, there isn't a difference.

    Hello,

    Well, there is a difference for sure.
    Present Perfect Tense(PPT) shows that the activity is completed. It shows only the completion of activity irrespective of a particular time, ofcourse in present though.
    On the contrary Present Perfect Continuous Tense(PPCT) is a sum of Perfect as well as Continuous tense. So, it shows that the activity is still in process and has begun from a particular point/period of time. So, it is simply a continuous tense but with an addition to TIME in it.

    If ,for example, we say that " She is reading this comic". It will simply mean she is still on reading that comic, time is not here known though. However, If I were to tell the time also here, it would be said as" She has been reading this comic since morning". or "She has been reading this comic for last two hours."

    On the other hand application of perfect tense will simply imply that the activity she was on, is through/over as of now. Usage of PPT here, will be read as "She has read this comic".
    I hope it helps.
    Cheers,
    Saurabh
     
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    Skin

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hello, everybody,

    Is there a difference between these two sentences:

    I have worked here since 1999, and
    I have been working here since 1999.

    Saurabh, I'm afraid I have to disagree.
    Both sentences mean the same thing: the action of working started at some specified point in the past and is still going on today.
    The only difference is that there is more emphasis on the duration of the action in the latter, where the present perfect continuous is used.
    It might be helpful to underline that only the present perfect simple is generally used with some verbs (perception verbs or verbs of will, like, see, hear, understand, know, want, like, hate and so on).

    Bye
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Saurabh, that might well be what the text book says, but as an English teacher still working in a college I would happily use either of these examples to describe my state of current work.

    A couple of contexts where they would both work for me:
    in a conversation with a new colleague

    in a staff meeting where I needed to validate my right to an opinion on something.
     

    Saurabh

    Senior Member
    English-British, Hindi
    Saurabh, that might well be what the text book says, but as an English teacher still working in a college I would happily use either of these examples to describe my state of current work.

    A couple of contexts where they would both work for me:
    in a conversation with a new colleague

    in a staff meeting where I needed to validate my right to an opinion on something.
    Hello Suzi Br,

    I suppose you are incomplete in the above quote, please complete it so that I can comment further.

    Cheers,
    Saurabh
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Basically, no difference in my view. Except, maybe, one of mood or emphasis.

    I mean, if I were really tired of working there, I might be tempted to use
    I've been working here (every night and day that God made) since 1999 (and see what I get for my loyalty).

    As often with the continuous form of the PP, emphasis is on the, well, "continuous" aspect of the action. But, as I said, it's a matter of emphasis rather than meaning.

    Only my personal feeling, though.
     
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    Saurabh

    Senior Member
    English-British, Hindi
    Saurabh, I'm afraid I have to disagree.
    Both sentences mean the same thing: the action of working started at some specified point in the past and is still going on today.
    The only difference is that there is more emphasis on the duration of the action in the latter, where the present perfect continuous is used.
    It might be helpful to underline that only the present perfect simple is generally used with some verbs (perception verbs or verbs of will, like, see, hear, understand, know, want, like, hate and so on).

    Bye
    Hello Skin, I would like to comment what I've got to tell here. Please look these sentences once again
    1) I have worked here since 1999, and
    2) I have been working here since 1999.

    Sentence 1) would be used only when I was working there and now I no longer work there. On the other hand 2) would be used when I'm still working there.
    Cheers,
    Saurabh.
     

    striped tiger

    Member
    India - Hindi & English
    Hello Skin, I would like to comment what I've got to tell here. Please look these sentences once again
    1) I have worked here since 1999, and
    2) I have been working here since 1999.

    Sentence 1) would be used only when I was working there and now I no longer work there. On the other hand 2) would be used when I'm still working there.
    Cheers,
    Saurabh.
    I disagree too, Saurabh.

    Sentence 1 means that I am still working here. This is so because have worked since indicates that the action is on-going. If I no longer work at a place I would just say, "I worked here from 1999 to 2002" or "I have worked here for 3 years".

    I hope it makes sense. :)
     

    Saurabh

    Senior Member
    English-British, Hindi
    I disagree too, Saurabh.

    Sentence 1 means that I am still working here. This is so because have worked since indicates that the action is on-going. If I no longer work at a place I would just say, "I worked here from 1999 to 2002" or "I have worked here for 3 years".

    I hope it makes sense. :)
    Oopes, you appear to be correct here, I'm forced to believe how stupid:eek: I could have been ignoring the usage of SINCE here. Well, I was apparently not meant to say what have I said. I recall my writings in quote 8.
    What about, "I've worked there all these years".
     
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    pellerina1

    New Member
    french
    Hello every one,

    Let me give you more details about the difference between I have worked for/since... and I have been working for/since...

    Both sentences mean that they started in the past and still continue in the present. And there is a difference bewteen both sentences.

    Here is a striking example that should help you to understand the difference between both sentences:

    -I have visited the museum for 3 hours: means that you started visiting the museum 3hours ago and you are still visiting the museum.

    -I have been visiting the museum for 3hours: It means you started visiting the museum 3hours ago and you are still visiting the museum. But using ING, you insist on the fact that 3hours for you in a museum is a long period!!! A kid would use ING because it's so long!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Using ING with the present perfect depends on your feeling. Nothing is wrong. Both are correct.

    However if you say:

    -I have visited the museum (no time). that means you visited the museum in the past and this has an impact in the present now.

    -I have been the museum (no time). That means you visited the museum in the past and still continue.

    I hope I was clear enough. If you need further information, feel free to ask and email me. as a French citizen, I am very interested in the English grammar (The brisith one, not the american one)

    Sincerely.
     

    Dona_15

    New Member
    FRENCH
    Of course, there is a difference between the two sentences.
    I have worked here since 1999 simply means that the action has been completed in the past and is OVER ("since" in this sentence does not mean that the action is still going on but it's used for instance to explain talking to somebody that I worked "here" in 1999 (something punctual for example) and since then have not worked there again till now...

    A the other hand, I have been working here since 1999 is to say that the action is still on I m still working here.

    The difference is subtle but REAL.

    Thanks.
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    "I have worked here since 1999" means that I started working here in 1999 and I still work here.

    " I have been working here since 1999" means that I started working here in 1999 and I still work here.

    There is no difference in meaning.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Of course, there is a difference between the two sentences.
    I have worked here since 1999 simply means that the action has been completed in the past and is OVER ("since" in this sentence does not mean that the action is still going on but it's used for instance to explain talking to somebody that I worked "here" in 1999 (something punctual for example) and since then have not worked there again till now...

    A the other hand, I have been working here since 1999 is to say that the action is still on I m still working here.

    The difference is subtle but REAL.

    Thanks.
    With respect, you are FRENCH and we are not. I don't know why you are set on arguing with native speakers!

    Various English speakers have said that we all know that if we say "I have worked here since 1960" it does NOT mean the action is over. The word SINCE it vital in that understanding! If a new member of staff joined my team there would be nothing at all unusual about me saying I have worked here since 1960. I guess it means the act of starting work there is OVER .. though the working carries on.
     

    aTo63

    Member
    French (France)
    Very interesting thread... because for me 'I have worked here since 1960' meant that now it's over, but I was wrong.
    So now, my question is: what is the difference between
    - I have worked in that company since 1960
    - I work in that company since 1960 ?
    Regards.
     

    My Name Is Nobody

    New Member
    French
    Here is a striking example that should help you to understand the difference between both sentences:

    -I have visited the museum for 3 hours: means that you started visiting the museum 3hours ago and you are still visiting the museum.

    -I have been visiting the museum for 3hours: It means you started visiting the museum 3hours ago and you are still visiting the museum. But using ING, you insist on the fact that 3hours for you in a museum is a long period!!! A kid would use ING because it's so long!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Using ING with the present perfect depends on your feeling. Nothing is wrong. Both are correct.

    Sincerely.
    Here is a good explanation I think. The first sentence is the raw information with no under meaning while the second implies a feeling, as Pellerina said. The context given by Pellerina is necessary too.

    - I work in that company since 1960 ?
    This sentence is agrammatical. You have to say "I have worked in that company since 1960".


    PS: I know my English is not that good but I am studying linguistics and can actually explain more grammatic rules in English than in French.
     

    Sequieros

    Member
    Turkish
    As fas as I know, PPT is used in just ended situations or in a particular time. But PPCT is used for the situation which is still going on since a particular time.
     

    Tazzler

    Senior Member
    American English
    Very interesting thread... because for me 'I have worked here since 1960' meant that now it's over, but I was wrong.
    So now, my question is: what is the difference between
    - I have worked in that company since 1960
    - I work in that company since 1960 ?
    Regards.
    As was said the second sentence is not correct. You can use either the present perfect or the present perfect continuous, but the simple present is not correct.
     
    Here's another native English speaker who finds no difference between the two original sentences.

    The above attempts by non-native speakers to argue against this would be quite amusing except for the fact that the enormous number of students trying to follow the arguments (look at the massive total of views this thread has attracted) will be baffled by the opposing viewpoints.

    I advise marinesea to be guided by native speakers only in this discussion.

    Rover
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    1) I have posted here since 2008.
    2) I have been posting here since 2008.


    3) I have posted here for three years.
    4) I have been posting here for three years.

    1=2 and 3=4.

    In 2011, 1=2=3=4.

    Oh, and by the way :D, I am still posting here.

    For our non-native speakers, for clarity "I (---) worked here for three years" is a complete act and is over and means I no longer work here.
     
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    JBG1

    New Member
    French
    Here's another native English speaker who finds no difference between the two original sentences.

    The above attempts by non-native speakers to argue against this would be quite amusing except for the fact that the enormous number of students trying to follow the arguments (look at the massive total of views this thread has attracted) will be baffled by the opposing viewpoints.

    I advise marinesea to be guided by native speakers only in this discussion.

    Rover
    Hi all,
    I'm a non native speaker, but I was taught by a native (american) speaker the same as pellerina1.
    What you guys think? Is it a difference between BE and AE?
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    I am a native AE speaker. To me there is no difference in meaning between the two sentences, despite what the French speakers on here seem to think. I don't think it's AE vs BE. It seems to be a difference between English and French!
     

    JBG1

    New Member
    French
    I am a native AE speaker. To me there is no difference in meaning between the two sentences, despite what the French speakers on here seem to think. I don't think it's AE vs BE. It seems to be a difference between English and French!
    Hehe, indeed! Thanks for the answer.
     

    KeepinOn

    Senior Member
    US - English
    LV4-26...Well put! I think you hit the nail on the head. There is a difference between the two forms, but not necessarily in "meaning" but in "emphasis."
     

    not that easy

    New Member
    german
    Oopes, you appear to be correct here, I'm forced to believe how stupid:eek: I could have been ignoring the usage of SINCE here. Well, I was apparently not meant to say what have I said. I recall my writings in quote 8.
    What about, "I've worked there all these years".


    Hi Saurabh,

    Sorry, but there is no difference in meaning.

    If you want to say that the action is over you have to use the simple present as in this example :

    I Worked there since 1985, (and now I´m on the dole).



    Best wishes
     

    Saurabh

    Senior Member
    English-British, Hindi
    Hi Saurabh,

    Sorry, but there is no difference in meaning.

    If you want to say that the action is over you have to use the simple present as in this example :

    I Worked there since 1985, (and now I´m on the dole).



    Best wishes
    Thank you for your post, not that easy.

    However, I'd tempt to say :

    I used to work here since 1985 or
    I worked here from 1985 to ......

    Don't know why but "I worked here since 1985" seems bit weird to my ears.



    Cheers,
    Sau


     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    The present perfect places past action in the context of the present.
    It refers to something past, but gives it a present connection.

    Thus 'I have worked here since 1999' refers to activity which is, yes, in the past, but it is connecting that activity to the present: consequently, we know that the speaker is still in that job.

    'I have been working here since 1999' is no different, except that it places an emphasis on the continuous aspect of the activity.
     
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    eanglaise

    New Member
    French
    Hello Skin, I would like to comment what I've got to tell here. Please look these sentences once again
    1) I have worked here since 1999, and
    2) I have been working here since 1999.

    Sentence 1) would be used only when I was working there and now I no longer work there. On the other hand 2) would be used when I'm still working there.
    Cheers,
    Saurabh.
    Hi Everyone,

    I disagree with you Saurabh.
    I'm not a native english speaker but to me, as I learn, we use the present prefect to express an action which start in the past and still true now, in the present.
    To express an action which is as you said, no longer true in the present, you have to use the past simple.

    I'm not one hundred percent sure about that, so if you disagree, just tell me.

    See ya
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    To say that we worked somewhere in the past but are not working there now, we would use past simple (or say 'used to'), but we would not use 'since'.
    'I worked there from 1999 to 2005.' :tick:
    'I worked there since 1999.' :cross:
    The reason is that 'since' in time expressions, in contexts of the kind discussed here, means 'from that time till now': consequently, it is asking for the present perfect (because it creates a present connection).

    Another point, for the benefit of the French audience who seem interested in this thread: we do not use 'since' with the present tense. Thus it is incorrect to say:
    'I work here since 2000'. :cross:

    Instead, we say:
    'I have worked here since 2000' :tick: or 'I have been working here since 2000' :tick: (effective meaning: the same).
     
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    eanglaise

    New Member
    French
    To say that we worked somewhere in the past but are not working there now, we would use past simple (or say 'used to'), but we would not use 'since'.
    'I worked there from 1999 to 2005.' :tick:
    'I worked there since 1999.' :cross:
    The reason is that 'since' in time expressions, in contexts of the kind discussed here, means 'from that time till now': consequently, it is asking for the present perfect (because it creates a present connection).
    Good to know, I should say : I worked there for 10 years.

    So with since we can't use the past simple. It seems evident now, but I didn't think about that.

    Another point, for the benefit of the French audience who seem interested in this thread: we do not use 'since' with the present tense. Thus it is incorrect to say:
    'I work here since 2000'. :cross:

    Instead, we say:
    'I have worked here since 2000' :tick: or 'I have been working here since 2000' :tick: (effective meaning: the same).
    You are right : in French we can say << non-English words deleted (English Only forum rules)>> so we tend to translate it by "I work here since 2000" in English.

    Thanks wandle for your good explanation ;)
     
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    zll777

    New Member
    Russian
    Hello everybody
    It is very interesting thread.Could you clarify me something about PP & PPC.
    As I understood there is nothing difference between two sentences
    1) I have posted here since 2008.
    2) I have been posting here since 2008. The both sentences means the action is not over.

    Then, what about another sentences with FOR
    3) I have posted here for three years.
    4) I have been posting here for three years.
    Are both sentences the same ? Am I posting till now?
    Thanks
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    In both cases, I would prefer the 'have been posting' version (#2 and #4). "Have posted" to me suggests you were posting all the time, as though you spent all day posting. So to me 'have worked' or 'have been working' are both okay, mean the same and are equivalent. So it somehow depends slightly on the verb.

    If here were something else in the sentence, 'have posted' would be okay. E.g. "I have posted here since 2008 and have found it very worthwhile." to me would be more 'okay' than just "I have posted here since 2008."
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    Actually, while "I have worked here since 1999" would normally mean "... and I still do," it could be used to mean that I used to work here but no longer do: "I have worked here since 1999, but only for a brief period," as opposed to "I worked here before 1999, but have not worked here since then."
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    In both cases, I would prefer the 'have been posting' version (#2 and #4). "Have posted" to me suggests you were posting all the time, as though you spent all day posting. So to me 'have worked' or 'have been working' are both okay, mean the same and are equivalent. So it somehow depends slightly on the verb.

    If here were something else in the sentence, 'have posted' would be okay. E.g. "I have posted here since 2008 and have found it very worthwhile." to me would be more 'okay' than just "I have posted here since 2008."
    Just to clarify: I penned those quoted examples and it seems my point might have clearer if I had used, for example:: "I have eaten lunch here every day since 2008" or "I have been eating lunch here every day since 2008" - one action per day.
     

    SgtBullmoose

    Member
    English - Canadian and UK
    Meaning-wise, the sentences are the same. That doesn't mean that the tenses are the same.

    *We use the Present Perfect because certain verbs don't take a progressive form: John's been sick all week (Not: John's been being sick all week)
    *We tend to use Present Perfect Progressive for more temporary actions as opposed to permanent actions.

    Compare: He's been standing there all day
    to
    For centuries, the castle has stood upon the hill.

    I have been living in Jason's room this month..
    to
    My parents have lived in Melbourne their entire lives.

    *We use the present simple to answer the question 'how much?' or 'how often?'

    I've been planting roses all day long
    to
    Look at all the roses I've planted!
     

    zll777

    New Member
    Russian
    hello evrebody, one question again, please help
    If I want to show my emotions what is the best form of sentences represented below?
    I have been writting the letter to you for 2 hours already
    or I am writting the letter to you for 2 hours already (I think this incorect form, because "for" doesn't use with this tense) Am i right?
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Hello
    "I have been writing to you for 2 hours already" is absolutely fine.

    I am less sure about using THE. I think THIS is better if you are writing this sentence in the actual letter, or say A if you are talking to the other person about what you have been doing.
     

    EStjarn

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Is there a difference between these two sentences:

    I have worked here since 1999, and
    I have been working here since 1999.
    I agree with those above who say that there is no difference in meaning. The difference I seem to notice is in how they set up what you're going to say next. Here's an example:

    It's your last day at work. At lunch with your office mates you're asked to say (for once) something deep and meaningful. You don't have a speech prepared, and you're not used to giving speeches. Now you have to improvise. You begin:

    I have worked here since 1999.

    - This is a complete statement. You are not indicating that you will say something directly related to it. Perhaps your next statements will be: I have lived here in Footville since 1986. I came to Footville from Aimwell, Louisiana, where I grew up.

    On the other hand, if you started by saying,

    I have been working here since 1999.

    it is as though the statement was incomplete. You would be expected to continue the thought, to say something related to it. Perhaps: And never before have I been asked to give a speech.
     
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    I agree with those above who say that there is no difference in meaning. The difference I seem to notice is in how they set up what you're going to say next. Here's an example:

    It's your last day at work. At lunch with your office mates you're asked to say (for once) something deep and meaningful. You don't have a speech prepared, and you're not used to giving speeches. Now you have to improvise. You begin:

    I have worked here since 1999.

    - This is a complete statement. You are not indicating that you will say something directly in relation to it. Perhaps your next statements will be: I have lived here in Footville since 1986. I came to Footville from Aimwell, Louisiana, where I grew up.

    On the other hand, if you started by saying,

    I have been working here since 1999.

    it is as though the statement was incomplete. You would be expected to continue the thought, to say something in relation to it. Perhaps: And never before have I been asked to give a speech.
    :tick:
     

    Calpeg

    New Member
    Italian - Italy
    These are the results of a test I did in a web site called "English Page". The words in bold type are the gaps filled and they are all correct. Point 5 clearly shows that the present perfect continuous is the best choice for ongoing situations when you use the verb "work". Yes, the present perfect is indeed from a grammatical point of view a present and it is indeed used for events that leave behind a consequence that still goes on, but in most cases it does refer to something that has already happened and it's gone! If you say, you've lost your keys, your keys are gone! Now, although in some cases you can say "I have worked here" when you are still working there, "I have been working here" clearly shows, beyond any possible doubt, that you are still working there and is therefore better than "I have worked here", unless you like confusing people. In fact, under point 5, the correct answer is "John has been working for the government".

    1. Judy: How long (be)have you been in Canada?
    Claude: I (study)have been studying here for more than three years.

    2. I (have)have had the same car for more than ten years. I'm thinking about buying a new one.

    3. I (love)have loved chocolate since I was a child. You might even call me a "chocoholic."

    4. Matt and Sarah (have)have been having some difficulties in their relationship lately, so they (go)have been going to a marriage counselor. I hope they work everything out.

    5. John (work)has been working for the government since he graduated from Harvard University. Until recently, he (enjoy)has enjoyed his work, but now he is talking about retiring.

    6. Lately, I (think)have been thinking about changing my career because I (become)have become dissatisfied with the conditions at my company.

    7. I (see)have been seeing Judy for more than five years and during that time I (see)haveseen many changes in her personality.
     

    Christine Purple

    Member
    Italian-Italy
    Hi guys
    I 've been studying and revising the same rules about present perfect continuous and simple for ages (from different grammar books), but still I happen to come across some sentences where I hesitate whether to use the simple or the progressive tense . :confused: I' ve come to the conclusion that either is correct in could you help with the following sentences please?


    1. "I know the report took a long time to do."
    "Have you worked/ have you been working on it a lot?
    2. This is a big problem. Have you thought/ have you been thinking of a solution?
    3. I needed a break last year and I went to Australia . Since the trip I've learnt/ 've been learning how to scuba dive.

    The tenses in bold type are the solutions suggested in the exercise key answers. But in my opinion, in each single case, both are correct.
    What do you suggest?
    Thank you very much in advance.
    Cristina
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Even if either tense is grammatically correct, they don’t necessarily mean the same.

    1. I know the report took a long time. Have you been working on it a lot?
    The question is about the ongoing situation up to now. The combination of perfect tense (state of completion at the time of speaking) and progressive aspect (expression of continuity) is entirely appropriate.

    2. This is a big problem. Have you thought of a solution?
    The question is not whether you’ve been considering something on a continuous basis, but whether you’ve finished considering it and come to a conclusion. It’s asking if a single specific event has yet happened.

    3. I needed a break last year and I went to Australia. Since that trip I've been learning how to scuba dive.
    This is what has been (and still is) happening since the trip. I started learning to scuba dive and that activity is still in progress. (If you used the simple past, it would mean your instruction had now finished.)
     

    Christine Purple

    Member
    Italian-Italy
    thank you Lingobingo
    .. then, in the given contexts are the bold type solutions the better options?
    or simply, both can be accepted but each single one bearing a slightly different meaning.?
    thanks again
    Cristina
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    To ne the bold type solutions are better in each case. The other ones don't seem "wrong" exactly but they would all raise doubts in my mind. This is probably because I am an AmE speaker and would prefer the simple past or the present perfect continuous over the present perfect. Thus I would say "Since that trip I learned how to scuba drive" if I had already finished learning or "Since that trip I have been learning..." if I were taking a class. Sentence 1, I would say "have you been working on it a lot" or "did you work on it a lot." Sentence 2, "have you thought' is fine, but have you been thinking is a little odd somehow.
     
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