Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Which is more correct:

Recently I was hungry

or

Recently I have been hungry

I think that the second variant is more correct. Could you please explain to me what do you think about it. Thank you in advance.

share|improve this question
add comment

3 Answers 3

Which you should use is entirely dependent on context. You would use the first if you are concerned to relate your recent hunger to events which occurred at that time:

Recently I was hungry and went to Burger King to get a Whopper. While I was there ...

You would use the second if you are concerned to relate your recent hunger to a present consequence, or if your recent hunger is a repeated state which continues to occur in the present.

Recently I have been hungry every afternoon. I must start eating lunch instead of working through my lunch hour.

There is a great deal more about this here.

share|improve this answer
add comment

It isn't that one or the other is more correct, it's that they have slightly different meanings. "Recently I was hungry" simply means that at some unspecified point in time in the past, I was hungry. "Recently I have been hungry" means that the state of hunger has persisted (either intermittently or constantly) over a period of time up till now.

This might clarify a bit:

Recently I was hungry in the afternoon.

This means that on one afternoon in the recent past I was hungry.

Recently I have been hungry in the afternoon.

This means that in the recent past I have been hungry in the afternoons.

The latter sentence is something you would be more likely to hear, simply because it is something that someone would be more likely to communicate. It's talking about a recent change in condition, whereas the first sentence, if it were something to comment about, would probably include more specific information: "I was hungry yesterday afternoon."

share|improve this answer
add comment

My upvote to StoneyB and the answer is quite clear. However, I'll try to further simplify it in other words.

In general use of have been and was, the have been implies to a regular thing happening whereas was reflects the state that happened once.

Check out StoneyB's examples. I was hungry and I went to Burger King - the story is finish! On the other hand, I have been hungry took every afternoon showing some sort of regularity.

The difference of I was doing something and I have been doing something may make it clearer.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.