A teacher walked into the classroom and found that there were a few ugly pictures on the blackboard. He asked,

Who has been drawing these pictures?

Who was drawing these pictures?

Which sentence is better?

1 Answer 1


If this was the only occasion the pictures were there, the teacher might ask "Who drew these pictures?" If similar pictures had been there previously the teacher might ask "Who has been drawing these pictures?" If the pictures were unfinished, especially if the teacher thought that the artist had been interrupted, the teacher might ask either "Who drew these pictures?" or "Who was drawing these pictures?"

  • If there were only 1 picture before the current picture can I use the continuous ? And if I use the present perfect continuous could it be meaning that the picture is not finished ? I have been reading means that the book is not finished the action of reading is not complete
    – Yves Lefol
    Jul 18, 2022 at 14:41
  • @user5577 yes, you can use continuous for only two instances of pictures. And the instances of drawing pictures have not been completed (obviously the teacher thinks they will continue unless something is done about it), even if one individual picture is complete.
    – Esther
    Jul 18, 2022 at 17:56
  • If the pictures were unfinished, can I use the present perfect continuous? Why or why not?
    – Stephen
    Jul 19, 2022 at 1:36
  • @Ester: "yes, you can use continuous for only two instances of pictures. " I would understand you were referring to the past continuous. Could you explain why I can't use the past continuous if there are more than two instances of drawing, please?
    – Stephen
    Jul 19, 2022 at 1:39

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