• E006 For a Long Time

    Welcome to English with Kimberley.

    In this episode, I want to introduce you to a way of talking about how long something has taken to do – often a very long time.

    For example, ‘I have been studying English for years.’ So, I am both still studying English and because it has been for a long time (‘years’), I have a lot of knowledge about English.

    You often hear this kind of speech (it is rarely used in writing) in countries like Australia and Britain – but it is not so common in American English.

    Hey! Let’s give this small quiz a try first.

    What do we call the verb in this sentence – ‘I have been studying English in Australia for a long time’?

    Is it the…

    a) present continuous?

    b) present perfect?

    or c) present perfect continuous?

    Well!

    It’s ‘c’ – ‘present perfect continuous’ with ‘have been studying’

    By the way, people often want to know how long it could take to learn English fluently.

    Well the short answer is probably forever – including those who have it as a first language.

    But according to the BBC, if you are living in an English speaking country like Australia, it could take about 1,700 to 1,800 hours (or about 4 years full-time English study) – But you still might need to study some more!

    So by the time you become fluent in English, you will indeed have been studying English for a long time.

    Whenever we use this tense we often have to use the words like

    ‘for’ or ‘since’. For example:

    • ‘I have been studying English for several years’
    • ‘I have been studying English since high school’

    Here’s a quick quiz – just for fun!

    Which of these is wrong?

    a) Europeans have been living in Australia since 1788.

    b) Indigenous Australians have been living in Australia for 60,000 years.

    or c) I have been living in Australia for 2002.

    Let’s hear them again… Remember, which one of them is wrong?

    a) Europeans have been living in Australia since 1788.

    b) Indigenous Australians have been living in Australia for 60,000 years.

    or c) I have been living in Australia for 2002.

    Well the answer is… ‘c’ – ‘I have been living in Australia for 2002′, which should be ‘I have been living in Australia since 2002’– because a point in time like 2002 uses the preposition ‘since’ while a period of time like 60,000 years uses ‘for’.

    You can leave your feedback about this podcast on iTunes.

    You can also find a script of this podcast at www.goaustralia.biz

    If you want some more practice with the present perfect continuous, just type the words ‘present perfect continuous’ in your search engine, surf and see what comes up.

    I hope you have enjoyed this podcast and you’ll join me again.

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