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I have just returned to my hometown after working and living in Rome for 5 years. I do not work or live in Rome anymore.

I meet someone who says: "I haven't seen you in a while, what have you been doing?

How do I answer this question? If I say: "I have been working and living in Rome" it sounds like I still work and live there, which is no longer the case.

Can I answer: "I worked and lived in Rome" even though this doesn't parallel the tense in the question?

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    You certainly don't have to replicate the Present Perfect as used in the original question. But it might be a bit odd to simply reply "I worked and lived in Rome" if that was entirely in the past (surely the next thing he'd have to ask would be "What are you doing now?"). Incidentally, simultaneous living and working would almost always be specified in that order in English, so a reasonably natural reply might be "I lived and worked in Rome until [recently, actual date, or whatever], and since then I've been back here [in my hometown]". Apr 10 '21 at 17:52
  • @ FumbleFingers Do you think "I have been working and living in Rome" sounds like I still work and live in Rome?
    – anouk
    Apr 10 '21 at 18:16
  • @ FumbleFingers "But it might be a bit odd to simply reply "I worked and lived in Rome" if that was entirely in the past". I don't understand, because you use the past simple if something is entirely in the past, so why is it odd?
    – anouk
    Apr 11 '21 at 11:30
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    Nothing unusual. Just that if someone asks what you've been doing, they'd normally expect you to give a series of activities ending with whatever you're currently doing. Apr 11 '21 at 12:32
  • People can change tenses. "I was working and living in Rome".
    – Lambie
    Jan 16 at 17:06
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As you do not work or live in Rome anymore,

"I worked and lived in Rome"

is more appropriate than

"I have been working and living in Rome".

The latter could convey a message that you are still working and living in Rome.

The difference between simple past and present perfect is shown below.

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/past-simple-or-present-perfect

We use the past simple to refer to definite time in the past (when we specify the time or how long) and usually with past time expressions such as yesterday, two weeks ago, last year, in 1995[.]

We use the present perfect to talk about time up to now, that is, events that took place in the past but which connect with the present. The present perfect is often used with time expressions which indicate time up to now, for example today, this year, in the last six months[.]

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