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. Sep 6, 2017 at 10:22

1 Answer 1


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?" Sep 6, 2017 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, 2017 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 Sep 7, 2017 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, 2017 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. Sep 7, 2017 at 15:23

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