Home/Common Mistakes/Grammar/Tenses/Present perfect simple (I have written) vs. present perfect continuous (I have been writing)
Home/Common Mistakes/Grammar/Tenses/Present perfect simple (I have written) vs. present perfect continuous (I have been writing)

Present perfect simple (I have written) vs. present perfect continuous (I have been writing)

To talk about the action, we use the simple form. To talk about the length of the action, we use the continuous form.

To talk about the action, we use the simple form.

  • I’ve made fifteen phone calls this morning. (The action is fifteen phone calls.)
  • He’s written a very good report. (The action is written a good report.)

To talk about the length of the action, we use the continuous form.

  • She’s been driving for hours. (Driving because we are talking about how long the action took –hours.)
  • We’ve been working very hard for a couple of months. (Working / months)

Compare:

  • I’ve been reading this book for two months, but I’ve only read half of it.
    (Reading in the continuous form to talk about the length of the action – two months. Read in the simple form to talk about the action – only half of the book read.)
  • She’s been trying to convince him for 20 minutes, but she hasn’t managed yet.
    (The length of the action in the continuous form, the action in the simple form.)