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  1. #1
    Verona_82 is online now Senior Member
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    Default haven't eaten and haven't been sleeping

    Hello,

    Could anybody please explain why we go for the progressive in (2)?

    (1) I haven't eaten anything today.

    (2) I haven't been sleeping well in the last two days.

    I'm trying to find a good explanation. Both periods of time - 'today" and 'in the last two days' - are unfinished. (1) is a statement of fact. Okay. But (2) could be regarded as a fact as well. Is it just because the action expresed by the verb 'eat' implies less duration than "sleep"? Or is it the time difference (today/in the last N days) that is crucial here?

    Would "I haven't been eating much meat in the last two days" make sense? I think it would.

    I'd be thankful for any help.

  2. #2
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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: haven't eaten and haven't been sleeping

    I think the 'today' is significant. It is not a long enough period to warrant a progressive form Also, the presence of the 'anything' gives an idea of completeness that does not go with a progressive form.

    'I haven't been eating (much) recently/for several days' sound fine to me.

    Incidentally, 'I haven't slept well in the last two days is acceptable. The progressive form simply emphasises the duration , and therefore the effect on you, of the non-sleeping.

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