How long have you been…?

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Welcome to your How long have you been…? lesson! In this topic we talk about:
• How do we use How long have you been…?
I have done… / I have been doing…
“Live” and “Work”
Negative Sentences with “Since” / “For” / “In” …
Take the quizzes when you’re ready! If you’re having problems, use the comment box to contact our English Teachers.

How do we use How long have you been… ?

happycouple

Marie and Johan are married, they have been married for five years. Today is their fifth wedding anniversary.

“They have been married for five years.”

We can say:

They are married.”
(Present Simple)

How long have they been married?
They have been married for five years.”
(Present Perfect Simple)

The Present Perfect is used to talk about something that started in the past and still continues now. Compare the Present Simple and the Present Perfect:

“Bob is in France.”
“He has been there since Thursday.”
(not “Bob is in France since Thursday.”)

Do you know each other?”
“How long have you known each other?”
(not “How long do you know each other?)

“She is waiting for the bus.”
“She‘s been waiting all morning.”
(not “She is waiting for a bus all morning.”)

I have done… / I have been doing…

“I have done.” is the Present Perfect Simple.

“I have been doing.” is the Present Perfect Continuous.

When we ask or say how long, the continuous is more usual:

“I have been driving since I was eighteen.”

“She has been smoking for ten years.”

How long has it been raining?”

State Verbs are not normally used with the Present Perfect Continuous:

“How long have you known Bob?”
(not “How long have you been knowing…”)

Live and Work

You can use either the Present Perfect Simple or Continuous when using live or work :

“James has lived in France for ten years.”“James has been living in France for ten years.”

“I have worked here since 1992.”“I have been working here since 1992.”

However, we use the Present Perfect Simple when we use the word always:

“I have always lived here.”
(not “I have always been living here.“)

Negative Sentences with Since / For / In …

We do not use the Present Perfect Continuous with the words since, for or in:

I haven’t seen him since Thursday.”
(not “I haven’t been seeing him since Thursday.”)

I haven’t watched TV for ages.”
(not “I haven’t been watching TV for ages.”)

“I haven’t been here in a while.”
(not “I haven’t been being here in a while.”)

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