I am facing an unfortunate complication while studying the present perfect and present perfect continuous tenses. I can't understand the difference between some of their parts. What is the difference between I've been looking for you all day and I've looked for you all day? The point is, which should I use when I find my friend? Because they both seem to be finished when I have found my friend, they should not.

closed as off-topic by Dan Bron, ScotM, Drew, Misti, Edwin Ashworth Jul 2 '15 at 15:48

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  • I have looked for you

An hour ago I briefly peeked out the window to see if I could see you.

  • I have been looking for you

I walked around the neighborhood for 20 minutes trying to find you.


People may disagree with me on this, but the "all day" in your example defines a span of time, and thus the simple present perfect is inapt. The preferred tense would be the continuous:

I have been looking for you all day.

  • Not the best choice, but often used in this context. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 1 '15 at 18:16

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