Teaching Present Perfect Continuous with Timelines

Grammar Teaching Timelines

 

Present Perfect Continuous vs. Present Perfect

In my advanced conversation class, Touchstone Level 3 has a section about the present perfect continuous and the present perfect. It’s actually quite  complicated and not something that students understand really easily, so  using timelines for teaching present perfect continuous can be really useful.

What is the difference between these two sentences?

1. “I’ve been watching Survivor since I was in university.” (present perfect continuous)

2. “I’ve watched survivor since university.” (present perfect)

Both are talking about repeated activities that happen mostly in the past, but what is the difference between the two?  It’s subtle and not something that even native speakers can put into words easily. In the first case, it’s an activity that began in the past, but is still happening now. In the second case, it’s an activity that began in the past, but it’s a bit ambiguous as to whether or not the activity is happening now.

Confused Students? Use Timelines for Teaching Grammar

Present Perfect Continuous

Past—–Present—–Future

Yes——-Yes——–??

Present Perfect

Past—-Present—-Future

Yes——??———??

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