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Danila
Am I right in understanding of this statement?

Good day for everyone! :)

Am I right that in the sentence: "How long have you been able to drive" the main theme is about that he\she was able to drive in recent(!) past, but nowadays he\she cannot?


 "How long have you been able to drive"  is  "... have + [to be able to]V3 ..." and this is  present perfect,  so the action was finished recently and at now moment he\she is not able to drive!


Mar 2, 2018 10:38 AM
Comments · 6

Well, Danila, you are right that this is the present perfect, but your understanding of the meaning is wrong.

In fact, we're using the present perfect to talk about a situation which began in the past and is still true today. Remember that the present perfect is a present tense, so it always tells us something about the situation now - it's telling us that this person can drive.  In this question, the speaker is asking how long this has been the case.

Let's look at some more examples. Here are some facts about a person's current situation:

1. He lives in Moscow.  2. He works as an accountant.   3.  He is married.      4. He can drive.

If we want to ask how long this has been the case, for each of these facts, we'd use the present perfect:

1.  How long have you lived in Moscow?                      2.  How long have you worked as an accountant?

3.  How long have you been married?                           4.  How long have you been able to drive?

For each of these questions, the man would answer using the present perfect and a time phrase with either since or for.  For example, he might answer the first one by saying "I've lived here since 2004". 




March 2, 2018

Su.Ki. is right. The tense is the present perfect tense.

The present perfect continuous/progressive has the form has/have been + the present participle (main verb + -ing) which in this case would look like "How long have you been driving?"

March 2, 2018
Hi! In my understanding that means that someone taught how to drive and he can do it until now.
March 2, 2018

Richard wrote:

The present perfect continuous/progressive has the form has/have been + the present participle (main verb + -ing) which in this case would look like "How long have you been driving?"

His description of how to form the present progressive tense is correct, but the example he gave would actually be the present perfect progressive form of the present perfect sentence "How long have you driven?" 

The sentence "How long have you been able to drive?" is in the present perfect tense.  It  would never go into the present perfect progressive form.

We would not say:

"How long have you been being able to drive?"  This is like saying "How long have you been being happy?"

March 3, 2018

Here is something to notice about the present perfect versus the present perfect progressive in English:

present perfect:

I have eaten many cookies today.  (This could mean that you ate them all at once, or it could mean that you spread them out throughout the day.)

present perfect progressive:

I have been eating many cookies today. (This one implies that you did not eat all of your cookies at one tine; you definitely spread them out throughout the day.)

Now, notice what happens when you use a form of to be:

present perfect:

I have been happy today.

present perfect progressive:

Oops!  We never put a "to be" verb in the present perfect progressive!

We do NOT say  "I have been being happy today,"     "I have been being happy today." = BAD!





March 3, 2018
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Danila
Language Skills
English, Russian
Learning Language
English