# He has sore eyes. How long <has he played/has he been playing> games on the computer?

< Previous | Next >

#### Tenacious Learner

##### Senior Member
Hello teachers,
I think 'a' is wrong because we can't ask a question in present perfect with 'when', about time.
Though we have a present consequence.
I think it is much more natural to use ''b/c". I don't think there's much difference between them except that for 'a' he has already finished his playing, and for 'c', he may be playing or has just finished. Right?

a) He has sore eyes. When has he played games on the computer? After lunch.
b) He has sore eyes. How long has he played games on the computer? For 4 hours
c) His eyes are sore. How long has he been playing games on the computer? For 4 hours.

• #### DonnyB

##### Sixties Mod
(a) doesn't work at all for me.

I think you have two options here:
(c) His eyes are sore. How long has he been playing games on the computer? For 4 hours. (= he's still at it)
(d) His eyes are sore. How long was he playing games on the computer? For 4 hours. (= he's finished)

You could re-cast sentence (a) as:
(a1) He has sore eyes. When was he playing games on the computer? After lunch.

#### Tenacious Learner

##### Senior Member
(a) doesn't work at all for me.

I think you have two options here:
(c) His eyes are sore. How long has he been playing games on the computer? For 4 hours. (= he's still at it)
(d) His eyes are sore. How long was he playing games on the computer? For 4 hours. (= he's finished)

You could re-cast sentence (a) as:
(a1) He has sore eyes. When was he playing games on the computer? After lunch.
Hello DonnyB,
Thank you for your help. I didn't figure out (a1).

b) He has sore eyes. How long has he played games on the computer? For 4 hours
Is the one above wrong? If yes, is it because if the action is finished I have to use the simple past?

TL

Last edited:

#### DonnyB

##### Sixties Mod
Is the one above wrong? If yes, is it because if the action is finished I have to use the simple past?
TL
Yes, (b) sounds odd and I've been trying to work out why.

I think it's because of the "For 4 hours": the question "How long has he played...?" doesn't in my mind expect a recent duration as the answer. We'd have asked either (c) or (d).

I'm not sure, but the dialogue:
(b1) - He has sore eyes. How long has he played games on the computer?
- He first started playing them three years ago
might work. I think commonsense dictates that he wouldn't have been playing continuously for the last three years.

#### Tenacious Learner

##### Senior Member
Hello DonnyB,