Difference Present Perfect Simple and Present Perfect Continuous

Ah yes, this is an incredibly, common question I am asked and I can understand why. Remember the Simple tense will tell us a fact or a routine while the continuous tense tells us the action is presently happening now.

If we compare them, they can look very similar and it can be difficult to know which one to choose.

Let's look at an example Sentence and it's quite a common one.

  • I have worked here for 5 years or
  • I have been working here for 5 years.

Both of these sentences tell us the same information. The action started five years ago and is happening now still.

The very, very slight difference is that the first example implies the fact and it may or may not continue in the future. This is the Present Perfect Simple.

The second example tells us that it is happening now and it is likely that this will continue in the future of it is implied it's going to continue.

Other examples could be:

  • I have visited Spain every year since the year 2000 (and maybe this will continue or maybe not).
  • I have been visiting Spain every year since the year 2000 and I really like it so I'll probably continue.

 

  • I have taught English for 12 years.
  • I have been teaching English for 12 years.

So i n a nutshell there is very little difference between them, it's more to do with implying something.

The Present Perfect Simple implies the fact to now and the Present Perfect Continuous implies the action is likely to continue in the future.

It's really nothing to worry about too much to be honest.

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About Ajarn Ken

Get English Tips with Ajarn Ken

Ajarn Ken is an English as a second language teacher with over 10 years experience teaching English all over the world including Europe, Central and South America and Asia.

 

Most recently, Ken was teaching university graduates in Bangkok, Thailand English and self development to prepare them for working in the aviation industry.

 

Ken successfully worked with hundreds of students placing them with some of the world's most well known airlines including Qatar, Emirates, Thai Airways, Norwegian Air, Gulf Air, Singapore Airline and many more.

 

Ken now has his own successful and well known Instagram channel Get English Tips which has well over 100,00 followers.