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If someone has just farted and I can smell it, I can say: "Have you just farted?"

If someone has been smoking and I can smell it, I say: "Have you been smoking?" It is not idiomatic to say: "Have you just smoked?".

Why, what is the reason for this? Is it because smoking lasts longer than a single fart?

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2 Answers 2

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A short answer in reference to ing versus ed here.

You are mistaken. It is idiomatic to say: Have you just smoked?

You can also say: Have you been farting?

And if you add around, you've got yourself a well-know idiom: Have you been farting around? Instead of working?

I'll leave you to look that up.

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  • Can you say: "Have you been farting?" for one single fart?
    – anouk
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 18:32
  • I'm sorry, I don't understand your answer. Can you say"Have you been singing?" if it was one song? I really don't understand
    – anouk
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 18:49
  • So it is possible to say: "have you been farting" for one single fart? Your answers are too cryptic for me.
    – anouk
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 19:00
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    @anouk I have answered your question at least three times. If you smell it, you can choose to say: Have you farted? Have you been farting? or Did you fart? I don't know how you can know someone has recently farted unless you smell it. All three question forms would work. We're back to: It depends on what you want to say. YOU.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 19:26
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    How do you know they have sung one song UNLESS you hear them?? I keep repeating this. The person who sings, is singing or has sung, is NOT the person asking the question. You are. You decide how to ask it. Try to separate those two things.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 19:54
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You would be better saying, Did you just fart? That is the most succinct way. Just, as you use it, means now, immediately. You would not ask someone if something just happened using have. You either ask, Have you farted or Did you just fart.

Regarding the smoking, if someone just smoked, you would have seen them doing it. Why would you ask? Asking if someone has been smoking means have you smoked recently.

It makes perfect sense to say, Did you just smoke before coming into the kitchen, because now I have qualified my usage of just to mean right before entering the kitchen.

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  • Would you use "have you farted" if you can smell the recent fart?
    – anouk
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 18:42
  • You might not have seen them smoking. I think her point is about smell not sight.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 18:43
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    I think "Have you just farted?" is fine for British English. (Actually, some would find it vulgar, but that's not because of the perfect.) Regarding your comment "if someone just smoked, you would have seen them doing it", that's not a fair assumption. You might have only just entered the room yourself.
    – rjpond
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 18:44
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    As a British English speaker, I would always say 'Have you just [verb]ed?' and would regard "Did you just [verb]?' as typically American. (I would say 'Have you been smoking?' because I think of that as a continuing activity.) Commented Jun 5, 2021 at 8:52
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    Yes. I've never smoked, but I believe a cigarette lasts for ten minutes or so. Commented Jun 5, 2021 at 10:39

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