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Sentences:

  1. What was going on in my absence.
  2. What has been going on in my absence.

This is a task on translating. There is no other context. I want to kno what is the difference.

The first one means that there was some period of time between the moment of spmeone's arriving and asking for information (came back yesterday; two days left; wanted to know about the last changes happened), doesn't it?

The second means that the someone asking this question has just came back and want to know about things happened. The the process of "going on" is connected with the present time, current moment (for example, a company of your friends is sitting in your home and laughing about something).

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What was going on in my absence is set in the past. It happened some time ago and has no connection to the present. What has been going on in my absence to me means you are either still absent and want to know what has been going on in the meantime or you have just come back and you want to know what has been going on in that time until now. So there is a clear connection to the present.

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'What was going on' may refer to one specific item the speaker has in mind whereas 'what has been going on' can also be used for a number of things. In that case the speaker (having returned or still absent) wants to know it all.

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