Present Perfect vs. Present Perfect Continuous

In most cases, both tenses are acceptable.

  • I have lived in Los Angeles since 1985.
  • I have been living in Los Angeles since 1985.

There are some situations in which one of the tenses sounds better.

To emphasize duration of an action, use the continuous form

  • I've been trading cars for 10 years.

To emphasize result of an action, use the simple form

  • He has just come back from work.
  • I have finished my workout.
  • I've bought a new car.

Tip: Some words indicate which tenses should be used

The simple form
"never" and "ever"

  • Kimberly has never had an accident.
  • Have you ever seen an alien?

The continuous form
"how long", "since" and "for"

  • How long have you been staring at this car?
  • I have been fishing for 2 hours.