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    #1

    were /have been

    Imagine the following situation:

    You ask a friend to go to the nearest store to get you some ice, and he returns with the ice a lot later than expected. Once he comes back, which would you say to him?

    Where have you been?

    or

    Where were you?

    Neither sounds wrong to me.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Allen165; 17-Apr-2010 at 21:20.

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    #2

    Re: were /have been

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    They both are fine but they don't address the question of why the friend took so long at the store.
    What took you so long?
    Why did you take so long?
    I think they address that question implicitly.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: were /have been

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    You ask a friend to go to the nearest store to get you some ice, and he returns with the ice a lot later than expected. Once he comes back, which would you say to him?

    I thought the important part of the text was why the friend took so long. If he answered, "At the store", you would know where he was - he was, as you assumed, at the store - but this doesn't tell you anything about why it took so long. I just asked three people in my office how they would ask such a question. All of them said that the correct way would be something along the line of "what took so long".
    Interesting! I've just asked two friends and we all agreed that we'd be more likely to say "Where have you been?" though the tone of voice would probably be what made the person realise that you were referring to how long they had been gone. Perhaps something like "Where the hell have you been all this time?" might be a little clearer!!
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 18-Apr-2010 at 09:14.

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    #4

    Re: were /have been

    IMO, 'Where have you been?" is probably politer. (where else besides the store?)
    'What took you so long" is more direct. (you have kept me waiting for too long!)

    not a teacher

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: were /have been

    I'd say "Where have you been?" too.

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