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Hi. It is hard for me to have a clear picture of the word "consist" being used in other verbs forms other than a simple past or present tense. I think it is possible for any intransitive verb to be part of verb forms like present continous or present perfect continous. I think the word "overflow" is another intransitive verb and I think I don't have any problem seeing it used in present continous or present perfect continous.

This company is consisting?/has been consisting? of 50 employees.

Or even a past perfect continous in this sentential situation correct?

By then, this company had been consisting of 50 employees
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I don't think the present continuous works , but in my opinion the others are fine if you go on to describe a period of time.

The company has been consisting of 50 employees for about a year now.

This would be no different in effect from the present perfect, but if you add "about" or "approximately" the continuous makes more sense, allowing for some variation - which the present perfect could not.

The company has been consisting of about 50 employees for over a year.
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Many verbs are unhappy or downright rebellious if cast in continuous aspect. 'Consist' is one of these. Your sentences are unacceptable.

On the other hand, 'overflow' is fine in the progressive: My toilet is overflowing! Call the plumber!

I don't think that transitivity has any connection with this phenomenon. Transitivity is a main factor in whether verbs can be cast in the passive voice, however.
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Thanks, MrM. I'm trying to figure how I went astray. Before I read your post, and after several hours' sleep, I revisited mine, noticing that some sentences were quite offensive.

I'm wondering if there's a difference between "continuous" as one long event, and "continuous" as a series of similar events.

I have been taking early morning walks throughout the greater part of my life.

compared to: I have been walking extensively throughout the greater part of my life.

The phrase "My diet has been consisting of" is very popular. While "My diet has consisted of" is obviously the indisputable choice, I wonder if a different meaning is intended. Can the correct version refer to my diet for the last month, and the incorrect version refer to my diet yesterday, my diet the day before, my diet the day before that, etc. - at least in the mind of the speaker?
That is, "Yesterday my diet consisted of gruel, the day before yesterday it consisted of gruel - my diet has been consisting of nothing but gruel."

Or, even if your diet has been inconsistent, the doctor may well say to you, "I need to know what your diet has been consisting of." (Doctors are notorious for sloppy language.)

Rgdz, - A.
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Your post slipped in there ahead of mine, Avangi. My comments were directed to the original poster.

I maintain my position on 'consist', of course.


I'm wondering if there's a difference between "continuous" as one long event, and "continuous" as a series of similar events. I have been taking early morning walks throughout the greater part of my life.
compared to: I have been walking extensively throughout the greater part of my life.

There probably is, but I don't think your sentences demonstrate that-- I think that common sense tells us both of those sentences are fine. It would make a difference if the sentences confused us.

Re: "My diet has been consisting of" and "My diet has consisted of", I see what you are aiming for, but I still don't think so. If I try them on my tongue, it only seems that with the progressive, I am thinking of the days passing, and with the simple I think of the recent fact.

Nevertheless, your mention of 'one long event' vs 'a series of similar events' rings a bell. I think we need CJ's input-- I believe he has commented on this before.

(By the way, here's one that makes a real difference: 'someone has eaten my blue cheese' vs 'someone has been eating my blue cheese'. In the first case the cheese is gone; in the second, there is still some left.)
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Thank you, MrM. I'll try to collect my thoughts. Meantime, I'd appreciate a piece of the cheese which is still left.

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AnonymousOr even a past perfect continous in this sentential situation correct?

By then, this company had been consisting of 50 employees
The past perfect continuous does not work in that sentence, and there is also no justification for the past perfect simple. There is nothing that justifies the use of the past perfect at all in that sentence. The past simple would be fine:
- By then, this company consisted of 50 employees.