Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|9. How long have you (been)…?


Study this example situation:

Dan and Jenny are married. They got married exactly 20 years ago, so today is their 20th wedding anniversary.

They have been married for 20 years.

We say: They are married. (present)

but How long have they been married? (present perfect)

(not How long are they married?)

They have been married for 20 years.

(not They are married for 20 years)


Read the rules

We use the present perfect to talk about something that began in the past and still continues now. Compare the present and the present perfect:

1. Bill is in hospital.

but He has been in hospital since Monday. (not Bill is in hospital since Monday)

2. Do you know each other well?

but Have you known each other for a long time? (not Do you know)

3. She’s waiting for somebody.

but She‘s been waiting all morning.

4. Do they have a car?

but How long have they had their car?

Read the rules

I have known/had/lived etc. is the present perfect simple.

I have been learning / been waiting / been doing etc. is the present perfect continuous.

When we ask or say «how long», the continuous is more usual (see Lesson 8):

1. I‘ve been learning English for six months.

2. It‘s been raining since lunchtime.

3. Richard has been doing the same job for 20 years.

4. «How long have you been driving?» «Since I was 17.»

Some verbs (for example, know/like/believe) are not normally used in the continuous:

1. How long have you known Jane? (not have you been knowing)

2. I‘ve had a pain in my stomach all day. (not I’ve been having)

Read the rules

You can use either the present perfect continuous or simple with live and work:

1. Julia has been living / has lived in Paris for a long time.

2. How long have you been working / have you worked here?

But we use the simple (I’ve lived / I’ve done etc.) with always:

I‘ve always lived in the country. (not always been living)

We say «I haven’t done something since/for…» (present perfect simple):

1. I haven’t seen Tom since Monday. (= Monday was the last time I saw him)

2. Sue hasn’t phoned for ages. (= the last time she phoned was ages ago)


Correct the mistakes

Read the situations and write questions from the words


Complete Woman’s answers to Man’s questions

If you open the lesson plan you will be able to assign separate pages as homework or all the homework pages at once.

Урок Homework Курс
  • The example
  • Bill is in hospital
  • How long
  • Live and work
  • Bob is a friend of mine
  • Questions
  • Bill is in hospital, isn't he?
  • Homework
  1. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|1. I am doing and I do
  2. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|2. I am doing and I do
  3. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|3. I did
  4. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|4. I was doing
  5. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|5. I have done
  6. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|6. I have done 2
  7. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|7. I have been doing
  8. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|8. I've been doing / I've done
  9. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|9. How long have you (been)...?
  10. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|10. For/since; When/How long?
  11. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|11. I have done and I did
  12. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|12. I have done and I did 2
  13. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|13. I had done
  14. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|14. I had been doing
  15. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|15. The future: I am doing / I do
  16. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|16. I will and I'm going to
  17. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|17. Future: Continuous/Perfect
  18. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|18. Conditional I
  19. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|19. Can, could and (be) able to
  20. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|20. Have to and must
  21. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|21. If I do... and If I did...
  22. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|22. If I knew... I wish I knew...
  23. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|23. Conditional III
  24. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|24. Wish
  25. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|25. Is done / was done
  26. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|26. Be/been/being + done
  27. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|27. Passive 3
  28. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|28. Passive: He is said to...
  29. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|29. Have something done
  30. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|30. He said that...
  31. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|31. Say and Tell
  32. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|32. Do you know where..?
  33. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|33. Auxiliary verbs; so/neither
  34. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|34. Do you? Isn't it? etc.
  35. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|35. Gerund
  36. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|36. Verb + to Infinitive
  37. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|37. Verb + Object + to Infinitive
  38. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|38. -ing or to: change in meaning
  39. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|39. Try/Need/Help: -ing or to
  40. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|40. Like / Would like: -ing or to
  41. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|41. Some/any/no/none
  42. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|42. Much/many/few/little
  43. Adults|Grammar|Intermediate|43. Both/either/neither/all/every