Suppose, I've been fasting for a few hours. Can I say "I have not eaten since breakfast"? Or should I say "I have not been eating since breakfast"?

Which one is grammatically correct?

  • Hi Roksana. Welcome to ELL! Grammatically they are both perfect, but in this context we would say the first. Does the answer here help? Sep 22, 2021 at 10:16
  • Or BillJ's comment here? Sep 22, 2021 at 10:27
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    Your question is hard to answer because fasting implies more than "a few hours". (We'd call such a short fast "skipping lunch"!). If you tell your friends you haven't eaten since breakfast, they might give you a sandwich. If you tell them you haven't been eating since breakfast, they might ask what you mean and how long you intend not to eat. (If they were interested in grammar they might ask if your use of the continuous aspect was intentional.) Sep 22, 2021 at 10:42
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    What @OldBrixtonian said. So I haven't smoked since breakfast might more strongly imply ...because I don't have any cigarettes, where I haven't been smoking since breakfast implies ...because that's when I decided to quit (or ...because I speak Indian English! :) Sep 22, 2021 at 11:47

1 Answer 1


They're both grammatically correct, but the important things are "What is your context?" and "What do you want to express?"

  • I have not eaten since breakfast.

    Imply that maybe someone asks you to have some meal right now and you want to. You suppose to terminate the activity(state) "not eaten" now.

  • I have not been eating since breakfast.

    Imply that you will keep "not eating."

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