were you been / have you been

Apophis

Senior Member
Portuguese
Have you been able to check your email during the day?
Were you able to check your email during the day?


Hi,
I'd say that both are right, but I'd like to hear the opinion of a native speaker, please.
Thanks.
 
  • Bobbum

    Senior Member
    They're both pretty much the same. However, "were you" sounds more final, like you've stopped checking--and "have you been" like have you found the time yet to do it.
     
    Last edited:

    margiemarz

    Member
    English-American
    I agree with Bobbum, but, the first sentence sounds awkward to me. I'd reword it to say: "Have you been checking your email during the day?"
     

    jonmaz

    Senior Member
    English-Australia
    I am perfectly happy with pat has been said with one exception -

    I, together with my friends and associates, would use "emails" not "email".
     

    baldpate

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    "Have you been able to ..." is applied to an extended period of time, up to and including the present; I don't think it sounds right when applied to a particular point/period in the past.

    "Were you able to ..." may be used in the case of an extended period, but also when applied to a particular point in the past.

    "When you got back from your trip abroad, were you able to check your email?":tick: (could you do it at that particular point in time?)
    "When you got back from your trip abroad, have you been able to check your email?":cross:
    "Since you got back from your trip abroad, have you been you able to check your email?":tick: (was it possible at any time since returning?)
     
    Have you been able to check your email during the day?
    Were you able to check your email during the day?

    Not in disagreement with the suggestions. It does strike me though, that able to itself has a dual meaning, a polite way of asking if one has had the chance to do something, but also, literally, "capable of" and the situation changes if e-mails are normally collected every night as in some businesses, but a computer crash has occurred and the questioner is wondering about the status today. This is not now so much a question of tense but of trying to asses where one is with the repair, contrasting night with day.

    Have you been able (yet) to check your emails during the day? (from last night's crash of your computer program which I understand is now up and running but now you've got a dual workload to contend with?

    Were you able to check your email during the day(at all,at any point? In fact, is the crash repaired and the e-mail program is now functioning?
     
    Last edited:

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Have you been able to check your email during the day?
    Were you able to check your email during the day?


    Hi,
    I'd say that both are right, but I'd like to hear the opinion of a native speaker, please.
    Thanks.
    For a full understanding, we need some context (and it is required by the WR rules). Without any context, we can't tell which tense is appropriate and we can't say whether "during the day" fits.
     

    Shini

    Member
    Italian
    I have another doubt about this topic.
    I found an "English test" on the Internet, based on multiple-choice questions with only one correct answer, and one of the questions was:

    Where ... yesterday?
    - were you
    - have you been
    - [other answers]

    Given that the other answers were not grammatical, I chose "have you been", and I think I got it right, but honestly I don't understand the difference. They both sound correct to me.
    Can someone tell me wether "where were you yesterday?" is completely wrong? And if it is, why?
     

    EStjarn

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Can someone tell me wether "where were you yesterday?" is completely wrong? And if it is, why?
    I would have 'were you' in that sentence, not 'have you been'. As baldpate hints in post #7, the present perfect is used to describe "an extended period of time, up to and including the present." It's not grammatical to use the present perfect in this case because of the adverb 'yesterday'. Without it, choosing the present perfect tense would make sense.
     
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