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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Present perfect simple or continuous?    

Present perfect simple or continuous?


Present perfect simple or continuous?
Hi everybody!

What would you say? Are both sentences acceptable or is there only one possibility?
Governments haven�t considered / haven�t been considering the issue for a very long time.

Thanks for your answer!

22 Nov 2008      



As far a s I know, when you want to emphasize time, present perfect continuous is the right one:

Governments haven�t been considering the issue for a very long time.

cheers!  Smile

22 Nov 2008     


Thanks for your answer Tere-arg!Wink

22 Nov 2008     


I agree with Tere.
Here you have something that may help you:

22 Nov 2008     


I�m afraid I don�t agree.
It seems to me that Governments haven�t considered this issue for a long time is the correct option.
Why?  Because consider is like think: they�re non-continuous verbs. 
I don�t think we�d use it in continuous form in the negative in this particular sentence although the positive form could be used.
So u could say Governments have been considering this issue for a long time.
Somehow the negative form just sounds wrong.

22 Nov 2008     


Consider like think???
I do not think so...  Smile

Verbs which are not used in continuous tenses:
  • hate, like, love, need, prefer, want, wish
  • believe, imagine, know, mean, realize, recognize, remember, suppose, understand, think
  • belong, concern, consist, contain, depend, involve, matter, need, owe, own, possess
  • appear, resemble, seem,
  • hear, see
With verbs that we don�t use in the continuous tense, there is no real action or activity. Compare "to hear" and "to listen". "To hear" means "to receive sound in your ears". There is no real action or activity by you. We use "to hear" with simple tenses only. But "to listen" means "to try to hear". You make an effort to hear. There is a kind of action or activity. We can use "to listen" with simple or continuous tenses.

From internet (lazy to go for my books ...Wink

22 Nov 2008     

United Kingdom

I think you should use the present perfect simple here.  The continuous sentence just doesn�t sound right. 
If you changed the continuous sentence to this:
Governments haven�t been considering the issue for very long.     

then it sounds fine but this of course changes the whole meaning of the original sentence. 

I think that there would be nothing wrong at all with the original sentence if it was a positve sentence, the problem seems to be with it being negative.   


22 Nov 2008     


Wow! I didn�t think that this question would be so controversial!!
I would have used the PPS if my colleague hadn�t told me she had doubts about it.
Thanks for all these different answers, including that of Bill (Wink) but I don�t know what to think now! lol!

22 Nov 2008     


Hi Alex:
Even though words like think and smell, etc are staive verbs you can still use them in the continuous form.  What about:
I think about you everyday.   I am thinking about my mother at the moment.
I consider Ann to be a good friend.  I am considering whether I should go to Paris or not.
I have often seen these words used in this way.

22 Nov 2008     


Governments haven�t considered / haven�t been considering the issue for a very long time.

The correct option is
Governments haven�t considered the issue for a very long time.

The Government can�t be "considering" the issue for a very long time... It should be for example: The Governments haven�t been considering the issue as important..."  - you cannot use a time expression here with "consider" it is indeed as alex pointed out - consider is a synonym here of "think".... We must always consider the context things are taken into not just the verb itself...

24 Nov 2008