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Present perfect continuous (The daily English show) (New Zealand)
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Sarah is telling us about how to use the present perfect continuous (I've been working). There are also some other sections (news, joke) and at the end there are some comprehension questions to check if you understood. She talks about the American song "I've been working on the railroad"; you can check the video and lyrics of the song under the Links tab. By the way, "railroad" in AmE is "railway" in BrE.

You can read the lyrics here or go to Sarah's page.

Hi, I’m Sarah. Welcome to The Daily English Show.

Today we’re going to study a song called: I've Been Working on the Railroad.

You can find a lot of videos on the internet of people singing or playing this song.
It’s an old American folk song and I think it could be a good song for studying the present perfect continuous.
I have been working ...
This is the present perfect continuous.
I’ve been working on the railroad.

So, why doesn’t the song go: I worked on the railroad, All the livelong day?

By the way, all the livelong day, is an old fashioned way of saying: all day long.

Let’s check out what it says in this book, my old friend, "English Grammar In Use".

Unit 9: Present perfect continuous.
"We use the present perfect continuous for an activity that has recently stopped or just stopped. There is a connection with now."

So I think by saying things like: I’ve been working hard all day long.
The connection with now is: I’m tired and hungry now.

Let’s look at a hypothetical situation. Let’s say you come home from work and your partner, who is unemployed, is sitting on the couch watching TV. And you say to them: What’s for dinner?
And they reply: Whatever you make.
Now, this is not fair, obviously, because you’ve been working hard all day and they haven’t.
So you say: Look, I’ve been working hard all day. I think you should make dinner.
You could say: I worked all day. But I think by using the present perfect continuous, you’re connecting it more to the present situation and you’re emphasizing that the activity has just stopped. What you’re trying to say is: I’ve been working hard all day long, until just recently and I’m exhausted and so you should make dinner.

Word of the Day

Today’s word is copious.
This word doesn’t have anything to do with today’s show ... I just like it.

Copious means: in large amounts.

I had a friend who used to use this word a lot, so I think of him whenever I hear this word. And he used to like drinking wine so he’d say things like: We drank copious amounts of wine.

friday joke

What's pink and fluffy?
Pink fluff.

What's blue and fluffy?
Pink fluff that’s holding its breath.


Kia Ora this is Stick News. This morning tonnes of glue were spilt on a road in New Zealand after a truck driver fell asleep.

At about 5:30 am, a truck driver who was hauling a load of glue from New Plymouth to Auckland, fell asleep. The truck rolled and the glue started leaking. The accident happened hear Hamilton. The driver only suffered a scratch to his leg and there were no other vehicles involved in the crash. The Waikato Road Policing Manager said the crash was "a timely reminder to both drivers and transport operators of the importance of rest periods. The body will only take so much and as in the case here with the driver at the wheel all night, the body will eventually shut down," he said.

And that was Stick News for Friday the 10th of October.
Kia Ora.

conversations with Sarah

Does it mean the same thing?

Step 1: Repeat Shane’s lines.
Step 2: Read Shane’s lines and talk to Sarah.

Sarah Did you know this song is popular in Japan too?

Shane I’ve Been Working on the Railroad?

Sarah Yeah.

Shane In English?

Sarah No, it’s a Japanese version.

Shane Does it mean the same thing?

Sarah No, the lyrics are different. It’s still about a railroad though.

note: present perfect continuous is also called present perfect progressive.


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