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Since present perfect continuous is used to talk about an activity that has finished, but whose results are visible now, can I use it for an action like these two ones;

'I have been living in Los Angeles.'

'I have been living in Los Angeles my whole life.'

Meaning that both actions are finished actions, as I have relocated recently to another location and the result of my relocation is obvious.

If present perfect continuous doesn't show that these two actions above are finished actions, then in what cases does present perfect continuous express that the action has finished?

Thanks

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'have been' is not a finished action. –  Kris May 15 '12 at 12:12
    
    
    
@Matt: I don't think so. The chart in the answer to your first link effectively says present perfect continuous applies up to some point just before "the present", which I think is not generally the case. And I see no reference to present perfect continuous anywhere in the second link - all it has is past perfect continuous. –  FumbleFingers May 15 '12 at 16:12
    
@FumbleFingers - Yeah, I got confused between "Jim had been living there" and "Jim has been living there" –  Matt Эллен May 15 '12 at 17:30
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1 Answer

Present perfect continuous, aka present perfect progressive - expresses an action that recently stopped or is still going on. It puts emphasis on the duration or course of the action.

Although it doesn't necessarily imply the action has finished, it very specifically contextualises the "duration or course" of that action relative to the present moment. Often, to indicate that the action has been continuous right up until [about] now, and has either just ended or will end very shortly.

In fact, unless the context or specific verb suggests otherwise, it more commonly implies that the action is still ongoing. Thus for example "I have been living there for years" normally implies you're still living there at the time of speaking.

But we often use this construction when the action has just finished - for example, when answering the telephone you might say "I've [I have] been waiting for you to call". In practice this means exactly the same as "I'd [I had] been waiting for you to call", since the context clearly implies you're no longer waiting.

Sometimes we use it simply to stress continuous action from past through present and on into the future - "I have been doing this all my life, and I'm not going to stop now".

Present perfect continuous (I have been doing sth) can be used whether or not you're still doing it, whereas past perfect continuous (I had been doing sth) always implies you're no longer doing it.

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Excellent answer. –  Charles W May 15 '12 at 15:56
    
It's clear to me that in your example ( "I've [I have] been waiting for you to call") and in an example like this one; My hands are dirty, because I have been gardening. present perfect continuous implies that both actions have finished, but it's not clear to me if I can use it in these two sentences; 'I have been living in Los Angeles.' 'I have been living in Los Angeles my whole life.' to mean that these two actions have finished too. –  Monica May 15 '12 at 19:14
    
@Monica: I don't think there's any context where you can say "I have been living in Los Angeles my whole life" if you're not still living there. Per my third paragraph, the default meaning of the tense is that it's still ongoing. To convey that you no longer live there, you'd have to say "I had been living...", or "I lived..." –  FumbleFingers May 15 '12 at 22:07
    
...as for "...because I have been gardening", it's just the context that suggests "completed action". I can quite validly say "My rich aunt has been supporting me through my first year at college, and will continue doing this next year - but she says I will have to pay my own way for the final year". Don't be fixated on the idea that this tense automatically implies the action is finished at time of speaking - that simply isn't true. –  FumbleFingers May 15 '12 at 22:19
    
... "I'm bored because I've been sitting here in this chair with no-one to talk to for hours" certainly doesn't imply you've actually got up out of your chair. –  FumbleFingers May 15 '12 at 22:22
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