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What is the difference between

(1) I've taken antibiotics for 10 weeks. (2) I've been taking antibiotics for 10 weeks. (3) I'm taking antibiotics for 10 weeks. (4) I take antibiotics for 10 weeks. (5) I took antibiotics for 10 weeks. (6) I had taken antibiotics for 10 weeks. (7) I had been taking antibiotics for 10 weeks.

A. Are they all grammatically correct? B. Which one implies that I am still taking antibiotics? C. Which one implies that it was the last 10 weeks, and which one implies that it wasn't the last 10 weeks but some 10 weeks at some point in my life? D. Do they all imply 10 weeks in a row? E. How does the meaning change when I add "now", e.g. "I've taken antibiotics for 10 weeks now."

I'm not a native speaker, thank you for your help.

closed as off-topic by user140086, Edwin Ashworth, ab2, Hellion, jimm101 Feb 10 '16 at 3:23

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(1) I've taken antibiotics for 10 weeks.

"have taken" denotes a present state. You say this at the end of the 10 weeks, and it does not imply anything about whether you will continue taking.

(2) I've been taking antibiotics for 10 weeks.

"have been taking" denotes a present state in the middle of an ongoing event. For 10 weeks already you have taken antibiotics and you're still taking it.

(3) I'm taking antibiotics for 10 weeks.

"am taking" by itself can either denote a present ongoing event (you are in the middle of the 10 weeks of antibiotics) or denote an imminent future such as according to what you choose to do (you have just decided to take antibiotics for 10 weeks and you are asserting your decision). Surprisingly, both could be conveyed by "I will be taking antibiotics for 10 weeks".

(4) I take antibiotics for 10 weeks.

This is only valid in a narrative account. It could be what you did in the past, which you are now retelling, but instead of using the past tense you use the present tense throughout to bring the audience into imagining the events as if they are unfolding right now.

(5) I took antibiotics for 10 weeks.

"took" denotes a past event. That past event lasted 10 weeks. We don't know whether it was a long time ago or just recently.

(6) I had taken antibiotics for 10 weeks.

"had taken" denotes a state resulting from a past event. Again, we don't know how long ago it was, but the 10 weeks ended before some other past event that you are talking about before or after this sentence. For example, "I had taken antibiotics for 10 weeks and still did not get better, so I started to doubt the doctor.".

(7) I had been taking antibiotics for 10 weeks.

"had been taking" denotes a past state in the middle of an ongoing event, very similar to "have been taking" except in the past. At that point in time, you had already spent 10 weeks on antibiotics, and you still were taking it! For example, "I had been taking antibiotics for 10 weeks already, and the symptoms had cleared up, but the doctor told me to continue for another 2 weeks just to be sure.".

  • @NonNativeSpeaker: The answers to all your questions should be quite clear now. Tell me your answers if you want them checked. – user21820 Feb 8 '16 at 9:52
  • It's a very good answer but you shoud have mentioned those "other past "events in your examples 6 and 7. It's a headache for nonnative speakers. – V.V. Feb 8 '16 at 14:17
  • @V.V.: Sure, I've added an example in. Good enough? – user21820 Feb 9 '16 at 3:36

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