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Unit 11. How long have you (been) ... ?




Unit 11; Part A

galka.jpg
Study this example situation:
11.1.jpgDan and Jenny are married.
They got married exactly 20 years ago, so today is their 20th wedding anniversary.

They have been married for 20 years.

We say: They are married.  (present)
but     How long have they been married(present perfect)
        (not How long are they married?)
          They have been married for 20 years.
        (not They are married for 20 sears)
We use the present perfect to talk about something that began in the past and still continues now. Compare the present and the 11.2.jpgpresent perfect:
     •    Bill is in hospital.
but    He has been in hospital since Monday. (not Bill is in hospital since Monday)
    •    Do you know each other well?
but   Have you known each other for a long time?
        (not Do you know)
    •    She's waiting for somebody.
but   She's been waiting all morning.
    •    Do they have a car?
but    How long have they had their car?

Unit 11; Part B

galka.jpgI have known/had/lived etc. is the present perfect simple.
I have been learning / been waiting / been doing etc. is the present perfect continuous.

When we ask or say 'how long', the continuous is more usual
(see Unit 10):
    I've been learning English for six months.
    It's been raining since lunchtime.
    Richard has been doing the same job for 20 years.
    'How long have you been driving?'    'Since I was 17.'


Some verbs
(for example, know/like/believe) are not normally used in the continuous:
    How long have you known Jane?  (not have you been knowing)
•    I've had a pain in my stomach all day.  (not I've been having)

See also
Unit 4A and Unit 10C. For have, see Unit 17.

Unit 11; Part C

galka.jpgYou can use either the present perfect continuous or simple with live and work:
•      Julia has been living / has lived in Paris for a long time.
•      How long have you been working / have you worked here?


But we use the simple
(I've lived / I've done etc.) with always:
•      I've always lived in the country.  (not always been living)

Unit 11; Part D

We say 'I haven't done something since/for ...' (present perfect simple):
•      I haven't seen Tom since Monday.    (= Monday was the last time I saw him)
•      Sue hasn't phoned for ages.  (= the last time she phoned was ages ago)



Exercises

flag.jpgAre the underlined verbs right or wrong? Correct them where necessary.
Key.3 have been married
4 OK
5 It's been raining / It has been raining
6 have you been living
7 has been working
8 OK
9 I haven't drunk
10 have you had

1    Bob is a friend of mine. I know him very well.
2    Bob is a friend of mine. I know him for a long time.
3    Sue and Alan are married since July.       
4    The weather is awful. It's raining again.       
5    The weather is awful. It's raining all day.       
6    I like your house. How long are you living there?           
7    Gary is working in a shop for the last few months.   
8    I don't know Tim well. We've only met a few times   
9    I gave up drinking coffee. I don't drink it for a year.       
10  That's a very old bike. How long do you have it?
OK                     
I've known him  
                         
                         
                         
                         
                         
                         
                         
                         
flag.jpgRead the situations and write questions from the words in brackets.
Key.2 How long have you been teaching English? / How long have you taught ...
3 How long have you known Caroline?
4 How long has your brother been in Australia?
5 How long have you had that jacket?
6 How long has Joe been working at the airport? / How long has Joe worked ...
7 How long have you been learning to drive?
8 Have you always lived in Chicago?


1    John tells you that his mother is in hospital. You ask him:
      (how long / be / in hospital?)     How long has your mother been in hospital?    
2    You meet a woman who tells you that she teaches English. You ask her:
      (how long / teach / English?)  ___________________________________________
3    You know that Jane is a good friend of Caroline's. You ask Jane:
      (how long / know / Caroline?)  ___________________________________________      
4    Your friend's brother went to Australia some time ago and he's still there. You ask your friend:
      (how long / be / in Australia?)  ___________________________________________
5    Tim always wears the same jacket. It's a very old jacket. You ask him:
      (how long / have / that  jacket?)  ___________________________________________
6    You are talking to a friend about Joe. Joe now works at the airport. You ask your friend:
      (how long / work / at the airport?)  ___________________________________________
7    A friend of yours is learning to drive. You ask him:
      (how long / learn / to drive?)  ___________________________________________
8    You meet somebody on a plane. She says that she lives in Chicago. You ask her:
      (always / live / in Chicago?)  ___________________________________________

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