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The form of the Present Perfect Simpe can be reviewed here

The form of the Present Perfect Continuous can be reviewed here

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Differences in Function


Perhaps the best place to start with the differences between the Present Perfect Simple and Continuous is where we can use both with a similar meaning. 

Compare :

I've been living in Spain for ten years and

I've lived in Spain for ten years

Both these phrases provide the same information

Although, we may need to decide which form to use when we wish to make certain emphasis or if context is needed in the sentance:

Completed or continuing activities

We normally sue the Present Perfect Simple to emphasise that an activity is complete while the Present Perfect Continuous tells us an activity is ongoing.


She has written a novel (The book is complete)

She has been writing a novel (The book is not complete yet) 


They have thought about moving to Mexico 

(This implies that they are not thinking about the idea anymore) Completed

They have been thinking about moving to Mexico

(This focuses on the action of thinking over a period of time up to the present) Continuing

The Present Perfect Continuous is not usually used with verbs that describe actions that are completed in a single moment of time (stop, finish, start, begin)

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