Hi, Egyptian2017,

"have written" indicates that the process of writing has finished. It could be used with another adverbial, for example:

  • have written two letters in three hours. They are ready to be delivered.

"have been writing" indicates that the process is still ongoing.

  • have been writing two letters for three hours. I hope I can finish them soon.
egyptian2017 posted:


I  .......  two letters for three hours.

have written
have been writting

Hi, Egyptian2017,

I agree with Gustavo's explanation and would simply like to add that because "for" is used (rather than "in") "have written" is impossible. The sentence "I have written two letters for three hours" makes no sense whatsoever. It doesn't make any sense to say that one has gone through an entire writing process two times for a specific duration of time. You could, however, use the indefinite plural:

  • I have written letters for three hours.
  • I have been writing letters for three hours.

The difference between the present perfect and the present perfect progressive in those two sentences is that the present perfect indicates that the letter writing is probably finished ("I have written letters for three hours and must now attend to other business") and the present perfect progressive that the letter writing is continuing ("I have been writing letters for three hours and need a break").

David, Moderator posted:
I agree with Gustavo's explanation and would simply like to add that because "for" is used (rather than "in") "have written" is impossible. The sentence "I have written two letters for three hours" makes no sense whatsoever.
 

Definitely, David. I just realized that, rather than saying that in Egyptian2017's sentence "have written" could be used with another adverbial, I should have said that "have written" could only be used with another adverbial, or should be used with another adverbial, which is what I meant to say. Thank you for noticing the ambiguity and making that clear.

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