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Maybe the question is simple but I can't form a definite opinion about the issue in question. Some people say IN shouldn't be used with PPC others say it's OK.

1) He has been reading this book in the last two days. (I think it doesn't mean )

2) He has been reading this book for the last two days.

If 1 is OK would it be OK to add "three times"

3) He has been reading this book for three times in the last two days.

3 Answers 3

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1 and 2 are both valid English but they mean slightly different things. (In practice it could amount to the same thing, but they imply something different).

  1. Means that at some time over the last two days, he has been reading this book. It could have been more than once, and we don't know when. But he has definitely been reading it.

  2. Means that he has been reading the book (not necessarily continuously) for the last two days.

  3. This is not grammatical. But you could say 'He has read this book three times in the last two days'. But it tends to imply that he has read the whole of it, three times.

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  • He can also say, "He was reading this book three times in the last two days." Commented Feb 24, 2015 at 8:56
  • @Brian Hitchcock No; the 'for three times' is still unacceptable. Commented Feb 24, 2015 at 10:42
  • Right you are. Deleting prior comment. Commented Feb 24, 2015 at 10:49
  • Just deleting for makes 3 grammatical: “He has been reading this book three times in the last two days” is fine, indicating that there have been exactly three occasions over the course of the last two days where he has been in the process of reading the book. Also, “He’s been reading the book in the last two days” is horribly jarring to me—ungrammatical, in fact. I can’t quite figure out why. Replacing in with within or at some point (with)in makes it fine, but just in on its own doesn’t work for me. Commented Feb 24, 2015 at 13:22
  • “He has been reading this book three times in the last two days” fine????
    – user1425
    Commented Feb 24, 2015 at 13:33
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I think that 1 and 2 have different meanings. 1 has the sense of continuous effort (I think): He has been read the book for 2 days without give up or until end it. 2 has the sense of sometime, in some period of time he read the book. 3 is more about certainty that he has been read the book (all book, perhaps).

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  • You have explained the difference between 1 and 2 quite well, but you have got them the wrong way round. Your answer is also full of grammatical errors - which is perhaps why you have been down-voted. Your first line is alright, after that it should read: He has been reading the book for 2 days without giving up, or until ending it. Your final sentence is ungrammatical, and is incorrect. the OP's example 3 is ungrammatical.
    – WS2
    Commented Feb 24, 2015 at 12:22
  • Thanks for your feedback. I am studying English for just 1 month. It is the best I can do now. But I can try help others with general things that I already know, in the linguistic sense. I need pay more attention when I am writing down my thoughts in English. Commented Feb 24, 2015 at 13:31
  • You may find our sister site - English Language Learners - helpful.
    – WS2
    Commented Feb 24, 2015 at 14:33
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This is ugly stuff!

1) He has been reading this book in the last two days. (I think it doesn't mean )

This IS ok but I think that "---during the last 2 days." would be slightly more elegant although I would be perfectly happy with:

"In the last two days he has been reading this book."

which seems, to me, a more natural phrasing.

2) He has been reading this book for the last two days.

Well, y-e-s - although I'm not entirely sure that I agree with WS2's comment:

Means that he has been reading the book (not necessarily continuously) for the last two days.

and finally we come to:

3) He has been reading this book for three times in the last two days.

Horrible!

Again this is the actual construction of the sentence:

"Three times, in the last two days, he has been reading this book"

would be fine.

Some people say IN shouldn't be used with PPC others say it's OK.

I am sure that the purists are correct, but stuff 'em, as long as you can make it look good & read well. It's OK.

Hope this helps

dmk

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  • As regards 2, yes I think I could have explained it better. @M.Agostinho hits the nail on the head when she says 'it has the sense of continuous effort'. The only problem is that she has 1 and 2 the wrong way around.
    – WS2
    Commented Feb 24, 2015 at 12:24

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