‘Present Perfect Continues’ in German

'Present Perfect Continues' in German German Language Coach

During many years of teaching German to English speakers, I found that many students struggle with the same aspects of German due to the different structures of English. This blog post serves to highlight recurring problems to help learners of German to overcome these challenges. For example, yesterday, I was teaching a regular student in the City of London. He has had regular German lessons for about six months. Yet he still struggles to express in German something that has started in the past and continues up until now. When I asked him how long he had been studying German, he answered in German using the Perfect tense, which is the closest match to the Present Perfect Continues in English, which you would use to answer that question in English. However, that tense does not exist in German. Instead, he should have used the Present Tense in German. You may ask why he continues making that mistake after having had lessons for over six months. Since his earliest childhood, he has been used to the Syntax of English and only repeated practice will help him achieve his goal that German syntax becomes second nature. I shall ask him the same question every week: Seit wann lernen Sie Deutsch?

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