present perfect

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Hiden

Senior Member
japanese
I have a question about the continuative interpretation of the present perfect.
I was told by a Japanese English teacher that both (1) and (2) are unacceptable. I agree to him that (2) is unacceptable because the first clause of (2) suggests that the speaker can speak English well. However, I do not agree that (1) is unacceptable because the first clause of (1) does not necessarily suggest that the speaker can speak English well. What do you think?

(1) I have studied English for 10 years but I cannot make myself understood in English.

(2) I have learned English for 10 years but I cannot make myself understood in English.

I would appreciate any opinion you might have.

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  • DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I think (1) would sound better with a perfect continuous tense: "I have been studying English for 10 years but I cannot make myself understood in English." but I certainly wouldn't agree that the sentence as it stands is "unacceptable" nor that it suggests the writer can't speak English very well.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'I have been studying English' suggests the activity is fairly continuous; you would be a slow learner if you still couldn't make yourself understood after ten years of this. 'I have studied English (over a period)' could be an on-and-off thing: it doesn't imply continuity, only length of time. I have studied many languages for many years, but it often involves picking up the book after a year or more of ignoring it, and studying the first few chapters again. I certainly can't make myself understood in those languages.
     

    Hiden

    Senior Member
    japanese
    'I have been studying English' suggests the activity is fairly continuous; you would be a slow learner if you still couldn't make yourself understood after ten years of this. 'I have studied English (over a period)' could be an on-and-off thing: it doesn't imply continuity, only length of time. I have studied many languages for many years, but it often involves picking up the book after a year or more of ignoring it, and studying the first few chapters again. I certainly can't make myself understood in those languages.
    Thak you for answer, entangledbank.
     
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