Let's say for example this sentence :

Finally, you're here! Where were you ? What took you so long ? _______!
1- I've been waiting here for hours.
2- I waited here for hours.

which one is correct to say ?

closed as off-topic by AmE speaker, MetaEd Dec 19 '17 at 15:43

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I've been waiting here for hours implies that the action has been occurring and is still occurring at the time when you are saying it ("I've been waiting here for hours and he still hasn't shown up!"). "I waited here for hours" is better used to describe an action which was completed in the past ("I waited here for hours yesterday and the man never showed up.")

Almost always in your example the correct response will be "I've been waiting here for hours." The only cases where this is inappropriate would likely require further explanation ("Finally, you're here! Where were you? I waited here for hours, took a nap, came back and you still hadn't shown up."). This extra explanation would need to include a completion of the act of waiting in that spot at some point in order to justify using the 2nd choice.


Either one is appropriate in this situation. I would lean towards "I've been waiting here for hours" which sounds more grammatically correct because you are specifying the action you have been performing for the length of time.

Expanding out the contraction gives "I have been waiting here for hours" which tells your listener what you have been doing and gives the impression that you did nothing else over this period of time, as opposed to "I waited here for hours" which may cause the listener to assume that you have been doing other things as well as waiting.

  • 1
    I believe it is also correct to say "I have waited here for hours". All three expressions are correct, although they sound slightly different, or rather convey additional message in a way. In short, I do think such difference is negligible. See the first three sentences and the term of "for hours" are enough... – Jiancheng Zou Jun 11 '14 at 2:32

Both of them are grammatically correct buddy. You can use any of them. But I'm gonna give you some ideas. If you are talking about " How Long " or the "Duration" of the time, or how long you have waited. It is better to use Present Perfect Progressive (with ING in the end). So I would say " I have been waiting here for hours" is better than "I have waited here for hours". In other hand you better use Perfect Present Tense if the verb is non action :)

  • Your answer would be significantly stronger if you cited one or more reference-work authorities to support your assertions about which form is preferable under which circumstances. As matters stand, readers have no basis for regarding your views as anything more authoritative than the personal opinions of an unknown individual posting online. – Sven Yargs Dec 19 '17 at 4:31

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