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Does anybody know why the present perfect continuous used with some verbs means an action that has recently stopped or still happening and with other verbs means a repeated action in the past at separate times?
Example:
Action recently stoppped: I have been painting the room all day, but I'm taking a break now.
Action still continuing: It's been raining for two hours. (It's still raining)
Repeated action in past: I've been going to the tanners lately. I went 4 times this week. (separate instances)

One of my students really doesn't get why "I've been going to the tanners" (example) means separate instances and not one continuous action. For example, it wouldn't make sense to say, "I've been going to the tanners for 2 hours" or "I've been going to the tanners all day." I'm not quite sure how to explain why??

Does anybody have an explanation? Thanks!
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Here's how I understand it:

PPC always has something to do with the present.

"You've been painting": There are paint smears /spots on your clothes/ "You've been smoking": I can smell it/ "The driver has been drinking": I can smell the alcohol on his/her breath.

"I've been writing letters all morning": It's still morning, and you can see I'm still writing letters.
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Welcome to English Forums!

I don't believe it is either the verb or the tense that expresses any action that has recently stopped.
Your examples could have been continued in different ways to show the reverse situation:

Action still continuing: I've been painting the room all day, and I intend to finish in the next two hours.
Action recently stopped: It's been raining for two hours, but it's stopping just now.

There is also a way in which "have been going to the tanner's" is continuous. Simply paraphrase it as "have been in the habit of going to the tanner's". I suppose your student thinks it means something like "have been on the way to the tanner's". In that case, you'll need to explain that one meaning of "go" is "visit regularly", and that since the place visited (the tanner's) features prominently in the sentence, it makes sense that the "visit regularly" meaning is most likely in this context.

There is nothing ungrammatical about the variants you quote.
I've been going to the tanner's for two hours.
I've been going to the tanner's all day.
As you say, it just doesn't make sense, because of assumptions we have about how frequently people usually go to a tanner's.

CJ

P.S. I trust you aren't talking about specialists who turn animal hides into leather. But wait! The result can be practically the same, can't it? Emotion: smile
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Comments  
action have started at the past and now it is still continue.

for example i started to learn english two years ago. and now i'm still learning english then i have been learning english for two years.

then action doesn't stop, action is continue.
Isabellebgreen
One of my students really doesn't get why "I've been going to the tanners" (example) means separate instances and not one continuous action. For example, it wouldn't make sense to say, "I've been going to the tanners for 2 hours" or "I've been going to the tanners all day." I'm not quite sure how to explain why??

Does anybody have an explanation? Thanks!

Ok, here is how I would explain it.

Tell your student that the use of PPC is justified by the keyword "lately", which specifies a period of time that started in the past but is either still going on or has recently ended (typical use of Present Perfect). PPC is also used sometimes to indicate the speaker's annoyance with the situation they're describing (e.g. "She's been smoking a lot lately" [implies "and it annoys me"]. In your example, the person could imply that having to go the tanner's repeatedly is indeed annoying.
If it was just the statement of a continuous action, then Present Continuous would be used => "I am going to the tanner's".

Does that help?
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