did you do or have you been doing

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UkraineHero

New Member
Russian
What _________ with yourself? There is mud all over you!

1. did you do
2. have you been doing

Why the right answer is 2? Is it possible that person in contex did actions in the past and stopped? If it so, why i can't use the first variant.
 
Last edited:
  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "What have you been doing with yourself?" means "What have you been up to (lately)?" "To yourself" would be better, in which case either version could be used.
     

    UkraineHero

    New Member
    Russian
    "What have you been doing with yourself?" means "What have you been up to (lately)?" "To yourself" would be better, in which case either version could be used.
    I think it would be better to say:
    What did you do to yourself? and What have you been doing with yourself?

    Meaby thats why the right answer is 2.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    “Have been doing” is the present perfect continuous tense. By definition, any present tense is about the situation now, and here the situation now is that the child(?) is covered in mud. Therefore, it’s reasonable to assume that the required answer is 2 – even if 1. also makes sense.

    Sadly, this sort of thing is often not so much about what is or isn’t perfectly acceptable English, but an exercise in reading exam-setters’ minds!

    (I agree with Newt & UkraineHero that “to” would be preferable to “with”.)
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    “Have been doing” is the present perfect continuous tense. By definition, any present tense is about the situation now, and here the situation now is that the child(?) is covered in mud. Therefore, it’s reasonable to assume that the required answer is 2 – even if 1. also makes sense.

    Sadly, this sort of thing is often not so much about what is or isn’t perfectly acceptable English, but an exercise in reading exam-setters’ minds!

    (I agree with Newt & UkraineHero that “to” would be preferable to “with”.)
    So if the situation mentioned by the OP happens in real life, both "What have you been doing to yourself" and "What did you do to yourself" are fine? Would native speakers tend to use one over the other?

    And can I also say "What have you done to yourself"?
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    All three could be used. A perfect tense is more likely, because the parent (or whoever) is looking at their appearance now, all muddy. If it looks like a splash from one simple accident, 'what have you done?' is enough, but if it's more messy than that, 'what have you been doing?' suggests the child has been playing in/with the mud over time. It's also the sort of thing a parent would say as an exaggeration, even if not called for by the true situation.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    So if the situation mentioned by the OP happens in real life, both "What have you been doing to yourself" and "What did you do to yourself" are fine? Would native speakers tend to use one over the other?

    And can I also say "What have you done to yourself"?
    Yes. They all work, as eb says. But I especially like your own suggestion:

    What have you done to yourself? You’re covered in mud! :thumbsup::thumbsup:

    And these are in order of naturalness (in my view, anyway):
    You’re covered in mud! …

    What did you do to yourself? :tick:
    What have you been doing to yourself? :tick::thumbsup:
    What did you do? :tick::thumbsup::thumbsup:
    What happened? :tick::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
    But in the OP ones, “with yourself” reads unnaturally, especially with the simple past.
     
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