If I say that "I have been sick since Tuesday" That would mean that my sickness started from Tuesday and I am still sick.

But if I just say: "I have been sick" without a duration or time expression, can it mean more than one thing depending on context?

E.g. Could it mean "I'm still sick" or "I was sick" depending on context?

In my opinion it should just mean that "my sickness has just recently ended" since it is present perfect tense.

2 Answers 2


By itself "I have been sick" doesn't say much about your current condition. Depending on the context, it can imply that you are healthy now, or that you're still sick.

I'm in bed. I've been sick all week (I'm still sick)

I'm so glad I'm feeling better. I've been sick all week. (I'm OK now).

It is often given as an excuse for not doing something,

I haven't been to work at all this week -- I've been sick

I'm sorry I missed your party, but I've been sick.

However in both cases it's not clear whether I'm sick now. You would need more information to judge. Of course you can always just ask:

You've been sick? How are you feeling now?

  • So, that in context can I also say "I am so glad I am feeling better. I have been sick since Tuesday." which would mean that I am not sick anymore? But if I just say "I have been sick since Tuesday" that would mean that I am still sick.
    – user92131
    Jan 11, 2017 at 10:23
  • No, I mean that the phrase tells you nothing about whether the person is still sick. That you get from context, or you have to ask.
    – Andrew
    Jan 11, 2017 at 17:25
  • Right, what about my examples in comment. Do they stand correct as well if I use "since"?
    – user92131
    Jan 11, 2017 at 17:31
  • "Since" sort of implies that you are still sick, but unless I could tell by looking at you, I might still ask.
    – Andrew
    Jan 11, 2017 at 19:00

"I have been sick" describes the physical act of vomiting. "I am sick" describes a general feeling of being unwell.

  • That might be true in some contexts, but what about in general? Can you edit your post to address OP’s specific concerns?
    – Em.
    Oct 3, 2019 at 18:58

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