Present perfect simple VS Present perfect continuous

Hello, all. I need your help.

- My hands are muddy because I __________ some flowers.

a. have planted
b. have been planting
c. bOth

 

"Aim High" (a book is published by Oxford university press, and the curriculum I teach) says that ONLY the present perfect continuous is possible. I wonder why we don't use the present perfect simple in such a context, i.e. there is an influence in the present (my hands are muddy). Furthermore, there's no indication that the action is in progress nor completed. Can we use BOTH?

Thanks in advance 🌹

Original Post
husseinhassan posted:

- My hands are muddy because I __________ some flowers.

a. have planted
b. have been planting
c. bOth

Hi, Hussein: I agree with your book that the present-perfect progressive is needed there: "My hands are muddy because I have been planting flowers." ("Some" is unnecessary.) The idea is that the action of planting flowers continued right up until the present moment, and that is why your hands are muddy. The present-perfect progressive communicates that the action continued right up until the present moment.

"I have planted some flowers" could refer to something you did last week. In any case, it needn't refer to something you just did. It is not impossible to use the non-progressive present perfect there; however, an adjustment would be needed. You would need to use "just": "My hands are muddy because I have just planted some flowers." Although that sentence is correct, I would more naturally use the present-perfect progressive.

Could I add something?
Both tenses, the present perfect and the present perfect continuous, deals with the idea of an action that happened in the past but have some connection with the present. This connection, in some cases, is a result of a stated action. For example
1) I've washed the dishes. They are clean.
2) I've been washing the dishes. I'm tired.
Both sentences have a result in the present. However, the focus, in the present perfect continuous, is on the activity itself. That's why the result added is 'being tired' which is a result of the activity going on for some time , whether it ended or not is not clear. While the focus, in the present perfect, is on the completion of the action. That's why the result mentioned is 'the clean dishes' which won't occur unless the washing-up is finished and completed.

Hope there things
1- I haven't stepped out of the line when I shared my thoughts. 
2- I didn't cause any confusion.
3- I am correct.

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