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 emphasise duration of an action, use the continuous form:

  • I've been trading cars for 10 years.

To emphasise 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.
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.