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What is the right tense to ask... What did you do the last 2 years? or ? What have you been doing the last 2 years?
Jan 31, 2012 5:04 PM
Answers · 6
Since I am asking the person what they did in the past in a time continuing to the present, I would use the second form (have been doing). If I was asking a person what they did during the last two years of some time period ending in the past, I would use the first form. "What did you do the last two years of school?"
January 31, 2012
"What have you been doing since last two years."
January 31, 2012
By using the past simple tense, you emphasise the fact that something was done and completed in the past. For example, if you were a new teacher in a school, wanting to know which aspects of English grammar your students had covered with the previous teacher, you would ask "What did you do in the last 2 years?" The present perfect progressive/continuous tense, however, is used to refer to past actions which have present consequences, usually visible ones. It also marks the longer duration of the action So, the second sentence would be suitable if you were, let's say, a teacher, surprised with your students' poor level of English. "What have you been doing in the last 2 years?" would then convey your irritation/reproach/ unpleasant surprise due to the fact that students who have been learning English for so long haven't learnt anything. Perhaps I made it too complicated. I hope this was helpful :o)
January 31, 2012
Both sentences are correct. The slight change in meaning between the two sentences makes little difference and most speakers will use them interchangeably.
January 31, 2012
Language Skills
English, French, German
Learning Language
English, French