Is this a correct choice of tense? If yes, what conditions would justify the use of Present Perfect Continuous?

It seems much more natural to say

I have read your letter. (I have recently finished) or

I read your letter with pleasure. (I finished in a string of events not related to now)

I wanted to explain to my student where her choice of Present Perfect Continuous ( as in the title) might do.

Here is what I think:

I have been reading your letter with pleasure.

does make sense when the reading is recent or still lasts. Adding "with pleasure" does not make any difference, contrary to what I initially thought.

That's my answer to my question that has been modified several times for clarity. Thanks.

closed as unclear what you're asking by tchrist, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, Janus Bahs Jacquet, Robusto, Marthaª Dec 16 '13 at 17:48

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • The title in the question uses present perfect continuous, but in the actual body text, you ask about choosing between present perfect simple and past simple. Also the question lacks context, has the author just finished reading a letter, or is he/she replying a day later? All three forms are correct and appropriate. Where is the problem? – Mari-Lou A Feb 23 '14 at 15:03

"I have been reading your letter with pleasure" meant to me: I read (simple past) your letter and it was so good, so informative, that, although I read (simple past) every single word, I kept it on my desk to re-read (inf.) and savor (inf.). I was so delighted by it that I am sure I shall be reading it again. Hey, I just started reading it again just as I signed this response. If I discover a new meaning in your text, I shall be sure to inform you, because, you know, I'm gonna read it over and over. . . . And, in the last sentence the reader politely leaves open the door should his opinion change, which it likely will do because because the writer chose the present perfect continuous to describe an action that has taken place in the past and did so for the very purpose of later changing his mind. At least, I think it is the present perfect continuous; they changed the names of the tenses after I left school and I've not read the memo. Well, in all honesty, I did read that memo. and I have been re-reading the memo. Not sure what is meant. They tell me English only has two tenses?

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