where have you been

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Poland91pl

Senior Member
Polish
Hello. Why do you ask " where have you been" when you see someone you've been looking for meaning "where were you - I was looking for you!" . What's the point in using the Present Perfect? It's nothing to do with the Present Perfect uses ( effects of the past actions, Action that started and are still true etc)
 
  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Why do you ask " where have you been" when you see someone you've been looking for meaning "where were you
    Because that's a fixed expression (idiom), well developed over multiple generations of native English speakersw, meaning "I'm unhappy/irritated/upset etc. that I haven't seen you."
    It does not ask for a literal location.
    As always, we try to tell learners that attempts to "correct" well-established idioms by application of so-called "rules" are doomed to fail.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Hello. Why do you ask " where have you been" when you see someone you've been looking for meaning "where were you - I was looking for you!" . What's the point in using the Present Perfect? It's nothing to do with the Present Perfect uses ( effects of the past actions, Action that started and are still true etc)
    Apart from the above, with which I agree, it depends on the time-frame and the context as well (which you haven't provided).
     
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