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Hi.

[1] I have been studying Italian since I was ten years old.

[2] It's been raining.

With [1] you started studying Italian when you were ten, and you are still studying it. But with [2] I'm not too sure. It sounds as though either it has let up, or as though the rain is slacking off and almost stopping. It is certainly not raining steadily any more. Am I along with the native speakers of English in how you feel the senses of the sentences? What do you think makes the action still in motion with some sentence, and not in motion any more with the others?

Hiro

Sendai, Japan
1 2
Comments  
To me it is very well still raining. I suggest that your uncertainty is because #2 does not supply the context that #1 does:

2a-- It's been raining since late last night. (and it is presumably continuing now)
2b-- It's been raining on and off for days. (not necessarily at the moment, though)
1a-- I have been studying when I've had a little free time. (not necessarily at the moment though)
I feel the same as MM.
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I'm glad you do!

So do I...
Then, say, looking out the window, and realizing it let up just a moment ago, wouldn't you say something like, "It has been raining. So it's so sticky"?

Just wondering.

Hiro
Yes indeed, Hiro. Just as with my #2b above, you have supplied some context, and we recognize that it was raining until just a moment or so ago-- essentially up to the present-- and affecting the present (which is mushiatsui).
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HSS:

Have a look at this thread too:

Present Perfect Simple OR Continuous
http://www.englishforums.com/English/PresentPerfectSimpleContinuous/cxcmr/Post.htm
By the way, the same applies to the Present Perfect Nonprogressive:

You can say «I have had a hard day» in the evening, because you are still tired. Or: «It has been a hard day».
It seems as though "affecting the present" is the key here. Just as with the present perfect, in which with an action verb the present is being affected by the action, and with a static verb the present is indeed being affected by the on-going state, with the present perfect continuous the present is being affected either by the action done in the past or by the on-going state. "Raining" has both active and static attributes, active because to rain means (of rain) to "fall," and static because it's in the state of rain falling. You can use the form whether it be continuing or not. You just provide supportive context. Normally the present perfect continuous is used with an action verb; hence, I believe it applies. What do you say?

Hiro
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