I’m currently having a discussion with a friend regarding the usage of a present perfect tense in combination with for/in/since etc.
It revolves around this sentence:
Traffic has been a big problem in The Netherlands for the past few years.
To my understanding with this sentence you say traffic was a problem till now, because with ‘for the past few years’ you indicate that the problem is solved recently.
But he says the meaning of the sentence here is: ‘traffic was and is still a problem’.
I believe this is incorrect, and if he wants to indicate that traffic was and still is a problem he would need to formulate the sentence as followed: ‘Traffic has been a big problem in The Netherlands in the past few years.’
*Originally I wanted to use ‘since the past few years’ but according to this topic that is incorrect in English grammar.
Regardless, I hope you can shed some light if I’m wrong and hopefully also why I’m wrong so I can learn.
I think either preposition is compatible with the meaning that traffic is no longer a big problem.
a. Traffic has been a big problem in The Netherlands for/in the past few years–until now. Now, a new highway is opened.
But maybe you might want to use for instead of in if you mean that traffic is still a big problem, because somehow c. sounds awkward.
b. Traffic has been a big problem in The Netherlands for the past few years now.
c. ?Traffic has been a big problem in The Netherlands in the past few years now.