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A teacher that has not yet retired but is going to soon says

I have been teaching for 15 years now, this year my pupils are 12 years old but I have not always been teaching to pupils from this age

I was wondering if present perfect continuous is a good choice or shall I use present perfect simple (i don't think so because the situation is still true and there is a chance that the situation will be true until he retires )or past simple (but as he is still teaching i don't think it will match

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  • 1
    I would use "I have been teaching for 15 years now. This year my pupils are 12 years old, but I have not always taught 12-year-olds." In your version, it is important to remove the word "from", and you should also remove the "to", but it isn't as big a deal. Using "from this age" is usually used when stating a range of ages - "from this age up" or "from age 12 to age 20" Jun 30, 2020 at 6:20
  • Why not have been teaching because I have always been teaching
    – Yves Lefol
    Jun 30, 2020 at 12:30
  • why not have not always been teaching is it because it is completed so simple is better i don't understand the logic to use simple or continuous in that case
    – Yves Lefol
    Jul 1, 2020 at 7:46

1 Answer 1

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Your original sentence was,

I have been teaching for 15 years now, this year my pupils are 12 years old but I have not always been teaching to pupils from this age

The original sentence is grammatically incorrect.

Note that "I have been teaching for 15 years now" is a complete sentence. Get rid of the comma and replace it with a full-stop; or in American English, replace the comma with a period.

I have been teaching for 15 years now. This year my pupils are 12 years old but I have not always been teaching to pupils from this age. (Iteration 2)

This is still grammatically incorrect. Insert a comma before "but".

I have been teaching for 15 years now. This year my pupils are 12 years old, but I have not always been teaching to pupils from this age (Iteration 3)

This is still grammatically incorrect). The word "from" sticks out like a sore-thumb. Replace "from" with a conjugation of "to be".

I have been teaching for 15 years now. This year my pupils are 12 years old, but I have not always been teaching to pupils who are this age. (Iteration 4)

Iteration 4 is more grammatically correct than the original (relatively speaking), but is still incorrect. I will temporarily get rid of the word "*but" and form two separate sentences. We can re-insert a coordinating conjunction later. However, English is easier to analyze when broken into individual sentences where each sentence is as simple as we can make it:

I have been teaching for 15 years now. This year my pupils are 12 years old. I have not always been teaching to pupils who are 12 years old (Iteration 5)

The phrase "been teaching to" can be simplified to "taught".

I have been teaching for 15 years now. This year my pupils are 12 years old. I have not always taught pupils who are 12 years old. (Iteration 6)

Some people would choose to write "were 12 years old" instead of "are 12 years old". However, my preference would be to almost re-write the whole thing:

I have been teaching for 15 years now. This year my pupils are 12 years old, but my pupils have not always been 12 years old. (Iteration 7)

Finally, this iteration (Iteration 7) is grammatically correct. However, it is a little stilted.

If you want a less-stilted alternative then use one of the following:

I have been teaching for 15 years now. This year my pupils are 12 years old, but I have not always been teaching pupils who are that age. (Alternative A)

I have been teaching for 15 years now. This year my pupils are 12 years old, but I have not always taught pupils who are that age. (Alternative B)

In American English, "pupil" is almost archaic. Americans would write, "student". However, you are either Indian or British and I would use whichever word (pupil or student) is most common in India and/or The United Kingdom.

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  • Nice answer. Plus 1. Sep 24, 2022 at 3:07
  • 1
    It is undoubtedly true that “my students have not always been twelve years old,” but that does not really say what was intended. Sep 24, 2022 at 3:09

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