Present perfect continuous

TheyKilledKenny

New Member
Russian
Hello. I've been reading about tenses for a quite long time and each time I think I understand the way they should be used I find some examples destroying the picture and I have to start from the beginning. Could you help me with these examples?

1. "I'm not drinking much cofee these days. I'm trying to cut down."
2. "I haven't been eating much lunch lately. I've been going to the gym at lunchtimes."

As far I see, both sentences describe very similar situations. Those guys perhaps have been doing those things eather for a couple of months or weeks. So why are the different tenses used? If didn't see the examples, I would write the first one as "I haven't been drinking much cofee these days. I'm trying to cut down.". Also I thought the difference might be caused by British and American usage, but both examples were taken from the same source.

3. "The builders had been putting up the scaffoldings when the roof fell in"
Can I say just "The builders were putting up..."? Is there any difference between this and original sentence?
 
  • rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    Welcome to the forum, TheyKilledKenny. What's your source for these quotes?
    1. I think I'd write I haven't been drinking as well. But I'm not drinking doesn't sound wrong. Perhaps these days suggests the present tense.
    2. The perfect continuous sounds all right to me.
    3. Had been putting up means they put up some scaffolding, stopped putting it up, and then the roof fell in. Were putting up means the roof fell in while they were putting up the scaffolding.
     

    TheyKilledKenny

    New Member
    Russian
    Welcome to the forum, TheyKilledKenny. What's your source for these quotes?
    1. I think I'd write I haven't been drinking as well. But I'm not drinking doesn't sound wrong. Perhaps these days suggests the present tense.
    2. The perfect continuous sounds all right to me.
    3. Had been putting up means they put up some scaffolding, stopped putting it up, and then the roof fell in. Were putting up means the roof fell in while they were putting up the scaffolding.
    Thanks for reply. The source is dictionary.cambridge.org
    1. Present continuous ( I am working ) - English Grammar Today - Cambridge Dictionary "
    2. Present perfect continuous ( I have been working ) - English Grammar Today - Cambridge Dictionary
    3. Past perfect simple or past perfect continuous? - English Grammar Today - Cambridge Dictionary

    But in 3 it was said that the roof fell in "When". And the description for this example says the same "Past perfect continuous emphasises a continuing or ongoing action." That's why I was embarassed about this example. If they wanted to show the proccess going over another event (roor fell in) why didn't they use past continuous?
     

    TheyKilledKenny

    New Member
    Russian
    Present Continous is sometimes used to express the idea of events or actions that are new and different from events in the past.
    You mean that was a first time he tried to cut down with coffee? And if he had been trying a lot of times before then we should use PPC as in 2 example?
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    Had been putting up emphasises the amount of time they'd spent putting up the scaffolding. It doesn't necessarily mean that the job of putting up the scaffolding was completed. It sounds as though the roof fell in while the workers were on their tea break or something.
     
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