A:"This lesson was so boring, the teacher has been talking/was talking all the time.
B: "How would you know, you have been sleeping/were sleeping all the time".

If the lesson had just finished and we were heading out which would be better?

  • The present perfect designates a present state derived from the past eventuality. The speakers are presumably no longer bored or sleeping, so there is no reason to cast this in the perfect. – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 6 '17 at 10:22

No need for 'this!' If A and B are talking about some lesson that has just finished, you can use 'the.' However, note that if you are using past tense, 'that' is used and not 'this.'

has/have been is used to talk about an action that has some starting point and it is continued even now. This is not the case here. So,

A: The lesson was so boring, the teacher was talking all the time
B: How would you know? You were sleeping all the time!

  • Would you say the same in this other situation? Me and my friend are waiting for another friend of ours to get out of the bathroom once they are out I say:"You have been/were in there for ages, what were you doing?" – Eliana Grosso Sep 6 '17 at 10:10
  • Of course yes, 'we have been waiting...' because *you are still there'. We often say - I have been waiting for you for past two hours. As I said 'have/has been something' means from one point of time till now. What 'were' you doing inside...is fine. – Maulik V Sep 7 '17 at 4:42
  • Yesterday I was reading a book and in the same situation "were" was used. This person was at school and once they got out the other friend said"you were there for a long time" or something along these lines. Now I'm even more confused – Eliana Grosso Sep 7 '17 at 8:25
  • Okay, let me try! 'were/was' talks about an event that occurred once. Have/has been talks about the same event but it is continued till now. 'I was waiting for you' simply means that it is not now; not a second back. On the other hand, I have been waiting for you means you just arrived and I'm telling you that I am here for whatever time... – Maulik V Sep 7 '17 at 10:01
  • But in this case "you were there for a long time" has pretty much the same meaning as "you have been there for a long time".I don't know why were was used though. – Eliana Grosso Sep 7 '17 at 15:23

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