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One, a little/a few, this, that - 25


191

Use
This tense is used for an action which began in the past and is still continuing:
or has only just finished:
I've been waiting for an hour and he still hasn't turned up.
I'm so sorry I'm late. Have you been waiting long? Remember that a number of verbs are not normally used in the continuous form (see 168), but that some of these can be used in this form in certain cases (see 169-71). We can therefore say:
^ Tom has been seeing about a work permit for you.
She has been having a tooth out.
I've been thinking it over.
I've been hearing all about his operation.
In addition, the verb want is often used in this tense, and wish is also possible:
Thank you so much for the binoculars. I've been wanting a pair
for ages.
The present perfect continuous tense does not exist in the passive. The nearest passive equivalent of a sentence such as ^ They have been repairing the road would normally be The road has been repaired lately (present perfect passive), which is not exactly the same thing.
192 Comparison of the present perfect simple and continuous
A An action which began in the past and is still continuing or has only just finished can, with certain verbs, be expressed by either the present perfect simple or the present perfect continuous. Verbs which can be used in this way include expect, hope, learn, lie, live, look, rain, sleep, sit, snow, stand, stay, study, teach, wait, want, work:
How long have you learnt English?
^ How long have you been learning English ?
He has slept for ten hours.
He has been sleeping for ten hours.
It has snowed for a long time.
It has been snowing for a long time.
This is not of course possible with verbs which are not used in the continuous forms (see 168), i.e. the present perfect continuous could not replace the simple present perfect in the following examples:
^ They've always had a big garden.
How long have you known that?
He's been in hospital since his accident.
Notice also that the present perfect continuous can be used with or without a time phrase. In this way it differs from the simple present perfect, which can only express this type of action if a time phrase is added such as for six days, since June, never. When used without a time expression of this kind, the simple present perfect refers to a single completed action.
^ В A repeated action in the simple present perfect can sometimes be expressed as a continuous action by the present perfect continuous:
I've written six letters since breakfast.
I've been writing letters since breakfast.
I have knocked five times. I don't think anyone's in.
I've been knocking. I don't think anybody's in.
Note that the present perfect continuous expresses an action which is apparently uninterrupted; we do not use it when we mention the number of times a thing has been done or the number of things that have been done.
^ С There is, however, a difference between a single action in the simple present perfect and an action in the present perfect continuous:
(a) I've polished the car means that this job has been completed.
(b) I've been polishing the car means 'this is how I've spent the last hour'. It does not necessarily mean that the job is completed. Note also that a single action in the present perfect continuous continues up to the time of speaking, or nearly up to this time:
He's been taking photos (he's probably still carrying his camera) but He has taken photos. (This action may or may not be very recent.)
193 Some more examples of the present perfect and the present perfect continuous
A: / haven't seen your brother lately. Has he gone away? B: Yes, he's/he has been sent to America. A: When did he go? B: He went last month. A: Have you had any letters from him?
B: I haven't, but his wife has been hearing from him regularly. A: Does she intend to go out and join him? B: They've been thinking about it but haven't quite decided yet. Unfortunately they've had a lot of expense lately and perhaps haven 7 got the money for her fare.
^ TOM: What have you done with my knife? (Where have you put it?)
ANN: I put it back in your drawer.
TOM (taking it out): But what have you been doing with it? The
blade's all twisted1. Have you been using it to open tins?
^ A: Do you see those people on that little sandy island? They've been
waving handkerchiefs for the last half hour. I wonder why.
B: They need help. The tide's coming in and very soon that little
island will be under water. Have you been sitting here calmly and
doing nothing to help them?
^ A: I've never been here before. I didn't know about the tides.
The past perfect tense
194 Form and use
д Form
This tense is formed with

had

and the past participle:

Affirmative: / had/I'd worked etc.
Negative: / had not/hadn't worked etc.
Interrogative: had I worked? etc.
Negative interrogative: had I not/hadn't I worked? etc.
В Use
1 The past perfect is the past equivalent of the present perfect. Present: Ann has just left. If you hurry you'll catch her. (See 183.) Past: When I arrived Ann had just left.
Present: I've lost my case. (See 184.) Past: He had lost his case and had to borrow Tom's pajamas. Unlike the present perfect the past perfect is not restricted to actions whose time is not mentioned. We could therefore say: He had left his case on the 4.40 train.
2 The present perfect can be used with since/for/always etc. for an action which began in the past and is still continuing or has only just finished (see 186). The past perfect can be used similarly for an action which began before the time of speaking in the past, and
(a) was still continuing at that time or
(b) stopped at that time or just before it.
But note that the past perfect can also be used:
(c) for an action which stopped some time before the time of speaking.
Examples of types (a), (b) and (c) are given below:
(a) Bill was in uniform when I met him. He had been a soldier for ten years/since he was seventeen, and planned to stay in the army till he was thirty.
Ann had lived in a cottage for sixty years/ever since she was born, and had no wish to move to a tower block. (The past perfect continuous tense had been living would also be possible here.)
(b) The old oak tree, which had stood in the churchyard for 300 years/since before the church was built, suddenly crashed to the ground. (The past perfect continuous tense had been standing would also be possible here.)
Peter, who had waited for an hour/since ten o'clock, was very angry with his sister when she eventually turned up. (had been waiting would also be possible.)
(c) He had served in the army for ten years; then he retired and married. His children were now at school.
Here we cannot use either

since

or the past perfect continuous. Note also that the past perfect here has no present perfect equivalent. If we put the last verb in this sentence into the present tense the other

tenses will change to the simple past.
He served in the army for ten years; then retired and married. His
children are now at school.
^ These structures are shown below in diagram form, with the line AB for the action in the past perfect, and TS for the time of speaking in the past:
(See also 196 for the use of the past perfect in indirect speech.)
3 The past perfect is also the past equivalent of the simple past tense, and is used when the narrator or subject looks back on earlier action from a certain point in the past:
Tom was 23 when our story begins. His father had died five years
before and since then Tom had lived alone. His father had advised
him not to get married till he was 35, and Tom intended to follow
this advice.
I had just poured myself a glass of beer when the phone rang. When
I came back from answering it the glass was empty. Somebody had
drunk the beer or thrown it away.
He met her in Paris in 1977. He had last seen her ten years before.
Her hair had been grey then; now it was white. Or
He met her in 1967 and again ten years later. Her hair, which had
been grey at their first meeting, was now white.
^ But if we merely give the events in the order in which they occurred no past perfect tense is necessary:
Tom's father died when Tom was eighteen. Before he died he advised
Tom not to marry till he was 35, and Tom at 23 still intended to
follow this advice.
He met her first in 1967 when her hair was grey. He met her again
in 1977/He didn't meet her again till 1977. Her hair was now white. ^ There is no looking back in the above two examples so no reason for a past perfect. Note the difference of meaning in the following examples:
She heard voices and realized that there were three people in
the next room.
She saw empty glasses and cups and realized that three people had
been in the room. (They were no longer there.)
He arrived at 2.30 and was told to wait in the VIP lounge.
He arrived at 2.30. He had been told to wait in the VIP lounge. In the third example he received his instructions after his arrival. In the fourth he received them before arrival, possibly before the journey started.
195 Past and past perfect tenses in time clauses
д Clauses with

when


When one past action follows another, He called her a liar, She smacked his face, we can combine them by using

when

and two simple past tenses provided that it is clear from the sense that the second action followed the first and that they did not happen simultaneously:
When he called her a liar she smacked his face.
When two simple past tenses are used in this way there is usually the idea that the first action led to the second and that the second followed the first very closely:
When he opened the window' the bird flew out.
When the play ended the audience went home.
When he died he was given a state funeral.
^ The past perfect is used after

when

when we wish to emphasize that the first action was completed before the second one started:

When he had shut the window we opened the door of the cage. (We
waited for the window to be quite shut before opening the cage.)
When she had sung her song she sat down. ('When she sang her
song she sat down" might give the impression that she sang
seated.)
When he had seen all the pictures he said he was ready to leave.
(When he had finished looking at them . . .) Compare with:
When he saw all the pictures he expressed amazement that one man
should have painted so many. (Immediately he saw them he
said this.)
The past perfect can be used similarly with

as soon as, the moment, immediately.

(For as as a time conjunction, see 332.)

В The past perfect can be used with

till/until and before

to emphasize the completion or expected completion of an action. But note that in

till/until

+ past perfect + simple past combinations the simple past action may precede the past perfect action; and in

before

+ past perfect + simple past combinations the simple past action will always precede the past perfect action:

He refused to go till he had seen all the pictures.
He did not wait till we had finished our meal.
Before we had finished our meal he ordered us back to work.
Before we had walked ten miles he complained of sore feet. ^ Past perfect tenses in both time clause and main clause are also possible:
It was a very expensive town. Before we had been here a week we had
spent all our money.

С after

is normally followed by a perfect tense:

After the will had been read there were angry exclamations.
^ D We have already stated (see 194) that actions viewed in retrospect from a point in the past are expressed by the past perfect tense. If we have two such actions:
He had been to school but he had learnt nothing there, so was now
illiterate
and wish to combine them with a time conjunction, we can use

when

etc. with two past perfect tenses:

When he had been at school he had learnt nothing, so he was now
illiterate.
^ But it is more usual to put the verb in the time clause into the simple past:
When he was at school he had learnt nothing, . . . Similarly:
He had stayed in his father's firm till his father died. Then he had
started his own business and was now a very successful man.
E Verbs of knowing, understanding etc. are not normally used in the past perfect tense in time clauses except when accompanied by an expression denoting a period of time:
When she had known me for a year she invited me to tea but
When I knew the work of one department thoroughly I was moved to
the next department or As soon as I knew etc. Compare with:
When I had learnt the work of one department I was moved.
F Time clauses containing past perfect tenses can be combined with a main verb in the conditional tense, but this is chiefly found in indirect speech, and some examples will be given in the next paragraph.
^ 196 Use of the past perfect in indirect speech
A Present perfect tenses in direct speech become past perfect tenses in indirect speech provided the introductory verb is in the past tense: He said, 'I've been in England for ten years' = He said that he had been in England for ten years. He said, 'When you 've worked for a year you 'II get a rise' = He said that when I'd worked for a year I'd get a rise. She said, I’ll lend you the book as soon as I have read it myself = She said she 'd lend me the book as soon as she 'd read it herself.
^ В Simple past tenses in direct speech usually change similarly: He said. 7 knew her well' = He said that he had known her well.
But there are a number of cases where past tenses remain unchanged (see 309-10).
(For the past perfect after

if

(conditional), see 223; after

wish and if only,

see 300; after

as if, as though,

see 292.)

The past perfect continuous tense
197 Form and use
A Form
This tense is formed with

had been + the present participle. It

is

therefore the same for all persons:
/ had/I'd been working
they had not/hadn 't been working
had you been working?
had you not/hadn't you been working?
It is not used with verbs which are not used in the continuous forms, except with 2010-07-19 18:44 Читать похожую статью
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