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How can I express that something has been used for a while and is still being used?

…used a xyz system that has been in daily use for several years.

I'm not sure whether this expresses that the system is still in use.

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By default, using present perfect "has been" implies that the action continues into the present. If the system wasn't in use any more you'd say it had been in daily use. –  FumbleFingers Aug 26 '12 at 13:39
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The tense of your sentence is fine as it is because the main verb of your relative clause is actually "be" as in:

be in use

"Be" is a stative verb and it already means both an extended period and an ongoing action in your present perfect (have pp) tense.

But here are other things you might want to take into account:

  1. the use of the word "use" twice, first as a verb then as a noun

  2. the insertion of the adjective "daily"

Since you were mainly asking about the tense, I'll leave the rest for you to work out.

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Thank you very much! I did not notice that I used the same verb twice, I will rephrase the sentence. Thanks for pointing that out. But I have to ask: What is wrong with daily? –  Niko Aug 26 '12 at 14:20
    
Actually, Niko, I think you shouldn't pursue a relative clause construction just to convey the same meaning. In your edit, you'd better leave the possibility for an alternative word or phrase open. That would be more natural. –  Cool Elf Aug 26 '12 at 14:24
    
About "daily," I guess it's often understood from the context that something in long-term use is also used quite regularly. It's not absolutely necessary to mention it IMO –  Cool Elf Aug 26 '12 at 14:26
    
@Niko You might consider "has been in continuous use . . ." if the use occurs all the time (24 hours a day, seven days a week); you could phrase it "has been in continual use . . ." if the use was very regular but may have had intermittent breaks (not 24/7, but once a day, once a week, etc.). –  bib Aug 26 '12 at 14:59
    
@Niko Not to worry about use twice. They're pronounced different; the verb is /yuz/ but the noun is /yus/; no one would ever notice their similarity in speech. Used an XYZ system that has been in daily use for several years is a perfectly grammatical verb phrase that also sounds completely natural in context. Go right ahead and use extra words to make it clear; this is not a tweet. –  John Lawler Aug 26 '12 at 15:27
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