I haven't seen you for ages

mimi2

Senior Member
vietnam vietnamese
Hi,
I don't know which verb is suitable for the question.
These are possibilities I made. Please give me your opinions.
1."I haven't seen you for ages. What did you do?"
2."I haven't seen you for ages. What were you doing?"
3."I haven't seen you for ages. What have you done?"
4."I haven't seen you for ages. What have you been doing?"
Thank you.
 
  • Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    Only #4 is correct: the present perfect continuous is always used for
    • an action that started in the past and continues in the present
    • an action that has recently stopped
     

    roxcyn

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English [AmE]
    You did X, and you are still doing X today. Normally, when we want to asking what someone has been doing, we say:

    What have you been up to these days? or What have you been doing?

    That is the Present Perfect Continuous. If you use the Present Perfect:

    What have you done? is asking about what you did. Since we are interested in what they are still doing we want to use the present perfect continuous.

    EDIT:

    For example:
    A)What are you doing to do at the movies?
    B) I'm going to choose an animated movie....

    A) How long have you been a teacher?
    B) I've been a teacher since 1990. (I was a teacher in 1990 and I still am today).

    So, in your sentence:
    I think you need to add "since or for" if you want to use the Present Perfect.

    You want to use Present Perfect Continuous because you are interested in what she or he was doing in the past and what he or she is doing today.

    Pablo
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    "For ages" is over a period of time. "What have you done" by itself usually refers to an ending. However, specifying a beginning allows it to refer to multiple endings over a limited time:

    "I haven't seen you for ages. What have you done since I saw you last?"
     

    mimi2

    Senior Member
    vietnam vietnamese
    You did X, and you are still doing X today. Normally, when we want to asking what someone has been doing, we say:

    What have you been up to these days? or What have you been doing?

    That is the Present Perfect Continuous. If you use the Present Perfect:

    What have you done? is asking about what you did. Since we are interested in what they are still doing we want to use the present perfect continuous. Perhaps someone else can give a better explanation? :)
    Pablo.
    I noticed you used "be up to" but I am sorry that I don't understand it at all.:)
     

    roxcyn

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English [AmE]
    What have you been up to these days? = What have you been doing these days?

    Pablo
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    To "be up to" something means to have an agenda (the something, usually nefarious) and to be acting on it. In the example given, the speaker makes a humorous "accusation" meant to evoke a friendly, but perhaps spirited, response. It is used where you would expect to hear "How have you been feeling?" or "What have you been doing?" but adds more variety to the conversation.
     

    AWordLover

    Senior Member
    USA English
    To "be up to" something means to have an agenda (the something, usually nefarious) and to be acting on it. In the example given, the speaker makes a humorous "accusation" meant to evoke a friendly, but perhaps spirited, response. It is used where you would expect to hear "How have you been feeling?" or "What have you been doing?" but adds more variety to the conversation.
    Hi All,

    I agree with Forero's description of "be up to" something. And yet, for me the questions "What've you been up to?" and "What've you been doing?" carry an equal meaning. I don't sense any of the humorous accusation quality in the first. I hadn't considered this possibility, I think of these as being fixed idioms.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Hi All,

    I agree with Forero's description of "be up to" something. And yet, for me the questions "What've you been up to?" and "What've you been doing?" carry an equal meaning. I don't sense any of the humorous accusation quality in the first. I hadn't considered this possibility, I think of these as being fixed idioms.
    The question has lost its oomph unless accompanied by a very serious expression. :)

    Our fixed expressions tend to derive from more serious utterances:

    Good bye < God be with you.
    Hello < Hullo! (yelled by a hunter to avoid being shot at or by a person using one of the early telephones to show there was somebody there)
    Hiya < How are you?
    Please < if it please thee.
    You're welcome < You (really) are welcome to it.
     
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