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    #1

    I've been looking/was looking for you

    context: I look for a friend. He turns up.

    What should I say?:

    I've been looking/was looking for you.

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    #2

    Re: I've been looking/was looking for you

    At the moment of arrival, as your context suggests, no difference and you would hear both (50/50) in AmE.
    Last edited by bhaisahab; 27-Oct-2012 at 20:59.

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    #3

    Re: I've been looking/was looking for you

    Thank you very much.

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    #4

    Re: I've been looking/was looking for you

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson13 View Post
    context: I look for a friend. He turns up.

    What should I say?:

    I've been looking/was looking for you.
    In non-AmE, they have different meanings. To use the simple past tense, you'd need to be referring to a specific time.
    "I've been looking for you" means "Up until now ..." To say, "I was looking for you" if you're still looking up until your friend's arrival, sounds quite wrong. (in AusE, NZE, BrE...)
    "I was looking for you" could mean "Three hours ago, I was looking for you." (I wanted to buy you lunch, but I couldn't find you, so I stopped looking for you and had lunch by myself). To say, "I have been looking for you" in this context would be wrong.

    That is, it follows the usual rules for the use of simple past and present perfect tenses.

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