Both the simple and the continuous formation (Unit 24) mean, very generally, 'past time and present time together'.

Continuation up to the present time


I've lived here all my life.
= I was born here, I live here now.

He has been working there for five years now.
= He started here five years ago and he works there now.

How long have you known John?
= When did you first meet?

We haven't seen each other since last January.
= Last January was the last time we saw each other.

A past event which is important for now


Look! The sun has come out.
So now the weather is fine.

Look! It's been snowing.
So now the ground is white.

Have you seen John?
I want to speak to him.

Help! Somebody has taken my wallet.

General experiences in life (simple formation only)

It's the most beautiful place I've ever seen in all my life.
They've been to Thailand hundreds of times.
Have you ever eaten snake?

Simple and continuous formation

The meanings of the simple and continuous formations are basically the same but sometimes they are a little different.


They have built a new stadium.
Now it is finished.

They've been building a new stadium.
It is probably not finished.

Units 39 and 40 tell you more about the difference.

NOTICE: Have got is grammatically present perfect but it usually has a present simple meaning (Unit 20):


Have you got a brother called John?
= Do you have . . . ?

I've got a terrible headache.
= Now

Present perfect or present continuous? (Unit 39)
Present perfect or past simple? (Unit 40)

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Exercise 25.1