"Have you visited him often?"
"For the last six months I've driven up to B. quite often."
"For the last six months I've been driving up to B. quite often."

The rule I have is that the present perfect simple is used when talking about "how often or how many" and the present perfect continuous is used when emphasizing "how long"— that is, the duration of an action.

If I go with my gut feeling, I would choose the present perfect simple.

But "six months" is a length of time, so one could argue that the present perfect continuous is also possible here.

Can both be used here depending on the perspective of the speaker?

  • 2
    Your second example is correct. if you wanted to say "I've driven...quite often" I would suggest "In the last six months...". "For the last six months" implies continuous (or at least continual) activity so needs the continuous form of the verb. This is like "For the last six months I've been living in London". The other form would be "In the last six months I've stayed in London frequently" in the second case the occupancy is interrupted.
    – BoldBen
    Nov 29, 2016 at 7:03
  • @BoldBen "second example" is a bit confusing, as the one you're talking about is the third sentence. At first I was all ready to disagree with you until I realized what you meant.
    – verbose
    Jan 28, 2017 at 2:28
  • @verbose I read the first sentence as the question and the other two sentences as alternative answers. I was counting the answers as the first and second examples.
    – BoldBen
    Jan 29, 2017 at 21:12

1 Answer 1


In general, the present perfect tense is used to describe an action that took place one or more times at an unspecified time in the past. The present perfect continuous is usually used to describe an event that took place one or more times beginning at a past time (which may or may not be specified) and which continues into the present. Therefore, the latter structure is the one that most people would be more likely to use in the situation you have described. However, there is, as far as I know, no rule that would disallow the use of the former structure, and I believe that anyone hearing or reading the sentence would be able to understand it and interpret it correctly.

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