Simple Present vs. Present Perfect

Read the sentences given below:

  • She is ill.
  • She has been ill.

The sentence She is ill means that she is not well at the moment of speaking. We don’t know whether she was ill ten or 15 minutes ago.

The sentence She has been ill puts an emphasis on the continuity of the situation. It means that she has been unwell for some time. We don’t know exactly when she started feeling ill, but one thing is certain: she has been unwell for some time. Here we are talking about a situation that started in the past and has been continuing ever since.

Now consider more examples.

  • She is working. (= She is working at the moment of speaking. We don’t know what she was doing 10 or 15 minutes ago.)
  • She has been working. (= She has been working for some time. We don’t know exactly when she started working, but one thing is certain. She started working in the past and has been continuing ever since.)
  • She is angry with her boyfriend. (= She is angry with him at the moment of speaking.)
  • She has been angry with her boyfriend. (= She has been angry with him for some time.)
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Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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