Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am writing a summary for last year and I have just realized that I do not know what tense to use in the following situation: Since 2009 I have been developing a computer program. As I am describing what I was working on last year, what tense should I use? I think I cannot use simple past tense because I am still working on that. I also think I cannot use present perfect because the description will relate to period of time that passed. Could anyone help me on this? Thank you

share|improve this question
1  
You could use several different tenses depending on the way you want to say it. Could you give an actual sentence where you would want to use this tense? –  Cerberus Mar 31 '12 at 12:11
1  
Welcome to ESL&U! –  tchrist Mar 31 '12 at 16:23
add comment

2 Answers

If your summary focuses on what happened in 2011, but you are still working on the computer program now, then you could write something like this: "I continued working on the computer program which I started developing in 2009."

share|improve this answer
1  
thans but doesnt this imply that I do not work on it anymore? I thought past simple should not be used for something that still continue..? –  Confused1 Mar 31 '12 at 11:41
3  
If you say that you "continued" working on the program, two things are clear: (1) that you started working on the program before 2011 and (2) that you didn't finish the program in 2011. –  PaulaJo Mar 31 '12 at 11:58
1  
@Confused1 - the key point is that PaulaJo's answer says "I started developing", not "I developed". Starting development is an activity that did indeed cease in 2009. –  user16269 Mar 31 '12 at 12:01
    
The sentence "I have been developing a computer program since 2009" is grammatically accurate, as the others have commented, but that puts the point of reference at the present, and as far as I understand your question, your summary just refers to what you did in 2011. In this case, the verb "continue" is the best choice. –  PaulaJo Mar 31 '12 at 12:01
add comment

That looks right to me, you're using the present perfect continuous tense. I would move since 2009 to the end of the sentence though: I have been developing a computer program since 2009 feels more natural to me.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.