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Present Perfect Continuous vs Present Perfect

Question:


What's the difference between:


  • I've been wanting to ask you...

  • I've always wanted to ask you...



Let's break it down. The first sentence is in the Present Perfect Continuous meaning that the verb (want) has started in the past and been continuously going.


The second sentence is in the Present Perfect meaning the verb (want) was less frequent. Each time was more individual. It looks like this.

However, in the original sentence there is the adverb 'always' meaning the verb (want) always happened. So, it actually looks like this.

That means that there is very little difference between the two sentence because of the 'always'.


Up to the point that the person asks the question, the action is incomplete.


Conversation - Present Perfect Continuous


A: How's work?

B: Still not great. My boss is horrible and the work is boring.

A: That's not good. I've been wanting to ask you this for a long time: why don't you quit.

B: I would like to but I don't have the money to be unemployed.

A: That's a shame. Maybe a new job...


Conversation - Present Perfect Continuous


A: How's work?

B: Still not great. My boss is horrible and the work is boring.

A: That's not good. I've always wanted to ask you: why don't you quit.

B: I would like to but I don't have the money to be unemployed.

A: That's a shame. Maybe a new job...


The only difference is "for a long time". I feel it is natural to add a duration with the Present Perfect Continuous.

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