She is away on holiday. Is she? Where ... ?

  1. Where has she gone? (Correct)
  2. Where has she been going?

    Why we can not use the second choice here ?


The present perfect continuous is used for ongoing or repeating processes. But we're not asking about an ongoing or repeating process, we're only asking about what she has done one time.

It might be easier to see if we put it as a statement. Right now we would say

She has gone away

because we're referring to an action in the past that affects the present.

To show you how we use them differently, let's see how the meaning of the sentence is changed by the different tenses.

He has gone to the racetrack (He has recently left, or he went there at some time in the past) He has been going to the racetrack (He has repeatedly gone to the racetrack)

I have eaten octopus (at least one time in the past I ate it)
I have been eating octopus (over a span of time in the recent past I ate octopus repeatedly)

But it's not always easy to see the difference:

She has slept for three hours (at this point, she has been asleep for some span three hours, probably the three hours up to now)
She has been sleeping for three hours (at this point, she has been asleep for three hours)

and you just have to know which one is more idiomatic. Sleeping is inherently an ongoing process, so has been sleeping is more idiomatic, but going away is a one-time process, so has gone is correct.

  • Maybe she is still on her journey , still on the move . She still needs 3 hours to get there . Can not " I have been going " be an ongoing process? . For example " I have been going for 5 hours but I haven t arrived there yet " . Aug 8 '18 at 22:37
  • 1
    It still sound very strange to say "Where has she been going" unless you know for a fact that she is still en route to her destination and you are asking specifically about the fact that she has been moving but you don't know where she is going. It normally means "Where has she been going repeatedly."
    – stangdon
    Aug 9 '18 at 15:14

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