In British English, which of the two sentences is more acceptable? And please tell me the difference if there is any. Many thanks!

  • I have played football for two years now

  • I have been playing football for two years.


1 Answer 1


Both have more or less the same meaning, although I would rather use number 1 in this instance: I have played.. Present perfect usually is focused on the number of instances of an action (you have played 60 matches in 2 years for example. Present perfect continuous is focused on the duration of a state or an action and is usually shorter or temporary like in: They have been playing for 123 minutes and the referee should finish the match in a moment. Consider the examples below. He is a well known writer. He has written 7 novels so far and recently he has been working on another one which is a detective story.

Best regards.

  • 1
    I basically know how and when to use these two senses. But I just don't know how to teach them to my students in an unconfusing way as an English teacher. The two tenses share almost the same definition. When the students keep asking me the difference. I feel it a shame that I cannot make myself clear.
    – user223759
    Mar 11, 2017 at 7:55

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