Hello Experts,
In the following which is correct, and why?

1) I didn't know that you could play the piano.
Oh yes, I have had piano lessons for a year.

2) I didn't know that you could play the piano.
Oh yes, I have been having piano lessons for a year.

An explanation would be welcome. I think both are correct, but I was told only the second one was. In the 1st sentence we know for how long but not when, so why can't one use the simple perfect form ?

Original Post
Both responses are correct, but they carry different implications.

Response 1 does tell us when the one-year period was. With the present perfect simple, "have had", it treats the one-year period as ending close to the moment of speaking. If the one-year period had been earlier, the response would have been

Oh yes, I HAD piano lessons for a year. (That was a couple of years ago, before I moved here.)

With "I have had" there's no way of knowing whether the speaker is going to take more lessons--maybe yes, maybe no. Using the present perfect simple is a way of focusing on the consequence of the instruction ("now I can play the piano"), rather than on the process of taking lessons.

Response 2, with "I've been having," describes the process of taking lessons, and pretty much implies that the process is not over.

In AmE the more common verb for this kind of study is "TAKE [piano/skiing/swimming/driving] lessons."

Marilyn Martin

Add Reply

Likes (0)