Present perfect tense with ongoing action

Hi all.
I wonder if someone can help me out with using the present perfect to express an
action that began in the past and continues up to the present.

If I wanted to say, “I have been studying Portuguese for six months”, would it be:
“Eu tenho estudado português seis meses”?

My other dilemma is whether there should be some other element to translate the “for”:
para, há, já, or something else maybe?

Any help gratefully received, thank you! :grinning:

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My natural inclination would be not to use the Portuguese present perfect (Pretérito Perfeito Composto) at all, actually. I would just say “Eu estudo português seis meses” (simple present) or “Eu estou a estudar português seis meses” (present continuous). It’s another one of those cases where we use the present tense very flexibly.

If I were to use the present perfect here, I’d probably phrase it as: “Eu tenho estudado português nos últimos seis meses” (I’ve been studying Portuguese for the last six months). To me, using with the present perfect sounds very strange.


Thanks @Joseph for such a useful reply.

Feliz ano novo!

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Olá! Could you also say “Ando a estudar português há seis meses”? These tenses always get me confused also!


Yes, @dpsmitt, that’s absolutely correct too (and more casual than the other options, by the way). It’s a perfect demonstration of the present continuous/present perfect continuous in Portuguese using the verb andar, as discussed in the last section of this Learning Note: Present Continuous in Portuguese.


Is it acceptable to invert the verb haver+que? ie Há 6 mêses que estudo português.

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Absolutely! But it’s meses, with no accent :grinning: