The present perfect simple is used to talk about unfinished actions that started in the past and are still true in the present. It’s often used with ’since’ and ‘for’ and state verbs:
I’ve had this job for two years.
The present perfect continuous is also used with ‘since‘ and ‘for‘ to talk about unfinished actions that started in the past and are still true in the present. However, we never use the present perfect continuous with state verbs:
We’ve been having this phone for two months.
In some cases there is no real difference between the present perfect simple and the present perfect continuous, especially in the case with verbs such as ‘live‘, ‘work‘ and ‘study‘:
She’s lived in London for ten years.
She’s been living in London for ten tears.
I’ve studied English since 2010.
I’ve been studying English since 2010.
They’ve worked at our company for six months.
They’ve been working at our company for six months.
However, there are cases in which both tenses have different meanings:
1. The present perfect continuous is used to emphasize the length of time. The present perfect simple is neutral in this case.
We’ve been talking for hours! (This emphasizes the length of time).
We‘ve talked for hours. (This doesn’t emphasize the length of time).
2. The present perfect simple is used when we talk about how many times something has been done. This isn’t possible with the present perfect continuous:
I’ve had three meetings this week.
I’ve been having three meetings this week.
He’s written four emails today.
He has been writing four emails today.
3. The present perfect simple focuses on the fact that an action is completed, while the present perfect continuous often focuses on the action itself:
I‘ve been writing a diploma paper. (I’m not finished).
I‘ve written a diploma paper. (I’ve finished it).
4. We use ‘yet‘ and ‘already‘ with the present perfect simple:
Have you finished your report yet?
I’ve already spoken to Jane.
5. The present perfect continuous is used to emphasize that something is temporary:
Tom’s been reading a lot of books recently. (He doesn’t usually do this).
Usually I work at the office but I’ve been working at home recently.