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Hello,

Would you please verify the grammar usage in following sentences? I am wondering the effect of 'for the last' ,'for the past', and 'for now',especially the word 'past' that gives me an impression that action is complete.

(1) My friend is a doctor for the last five years.

Better: My friend was/had been a doctor for the last five years.

(2) She was a doctor for three years when I graduated from high school.

Better: She had been a doctor for three years when I graduated from high school.

(3) They have been going to the movies every Thursday evening for the past five years.

Better: There were going to the movies every Thursday evening for the past five years.

(4) I want to see a real stage play for three years now. ( I think the sentence is OK).
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Hi,

Would you please verify the grammar usage in following sentences? I am wondering the effect of 'for the last' ,'for the past', and 'for now',especially the word 'past' that gives me an impression that action is complete.

(1) My friend is a doctor for the last five years.

Better: My friend was/had been a doctor for the last five years.

Better to say '....has been a doctor .....'.

(2) She was a doctor for three years when I graduated from high school.

Better: She had been a doctor for three years when I graduated from high school. Yes.

(3) They have been going to the movies every Thursday evening for the past five years. OK.

Better: There were going to the movies every Thursday evening for the past five years. This implies .... But now they aren't going anymore.

Better to say: They went (or have been going) to the movies every Thursday evening for the past five years. (and may continue to do so)

(4) I want to see a real stage play for three years now. ( I think the sentence is OK). No. I have been wanting to see ....

Is this enough information for you? If not, please write again. Clive
Thanks Clive. When we say 'for the last five years' or 'for the past five years', do we consider the current year also? I always get a feeling that these phrases refer a past time. Please clarify.

In additon, Shall we always use the phrase "for ..years now" along with present perfect/present perfect cont. tense?
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Hi,

When we say 'for the last five years' or 'for the past five years', do we consider the current year also? I always get a feeling that these phrases refer a past time. Please clarify. Both of these phrases normally mean five years previous to today. In other words, today is Sept/12/2005 so 'for the last year' would mean from today back to Sept/12/2004. However, these phrases are usually used as approximations, not with great exactness.

In additon, Shall we always use the phrase "for ..years now" along with present perfect/present perfect cont. tense?

I have studied English for 5 years now. OK. You can also omit the phrase.

I have been studying English for 5 years now. OK. You can also omit the phrase.

I'm not sure exactly what you are asking about this phrase. Does this answer your question OK?

Best wishes, Clive
Sorry for any confusion. In other words, "for ..years now" phrase should be used only with present perfect or present perfect cont. tense? Am I right?
Hi,

I understand your thinking, and I think the answer is 'yes, usually'. As with many things in language, you can find other, more uncommon contexts where you could use it with other tenses. But yes, in general I think I agree with you.

Best wishes again, Clive
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Clive,

Thanks a lot for your help.