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If someone asks me about my break in my job, which sentence is correct?

  1. I was on break (or) I was on second break

  2. I had second break

  3. I have been on (second) break.

I get this question three times a day because someone takes me off on breaks, but I don't know how should I reply.

Which of the following questions are correct?

  1. Have you been a break?
  2. Had you a break?

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I was on break and I have been on break are both fully grammatical and perfectly idiomatic. In some cases they could even be used in the same circumstances. The difference between them is in how you are referring to the temporal relationship between your break and now.

I have been on break implies that there is some relevance in the present to your having been on break. Often, this is that it has only just finished (or is still happening), and with the simple sentence you give that is very much the most likely interpretation.

In I was on break on the other hand, you are regarding the break as finished - probably because it was not so recent, but possibly for other reasons.

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  • I have been implies that you were in a specific state at a specific time in the past.
  • I was implies that you were performing a specific action at a specific time in the past.

With "break" it is ambiguous, since there is the state of being on a break, and there is the action of having a break.

So you could quite happily use either:

  • I have been on a break.
  • I was having a break.

Saying "I was a break" or "I had been a break" is bad grammar because they both mean that you were your self personally a break, and person is not capable of being a period of time between two actions, it just doesn't make sense.

  • The OP's original sentences do not include the indefinite article. I have left the requested sentences untouched, but formatted them in such a way that they look clearer now. – Mari-Lou A Oct 20 '15 at 1:06
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  1. Have you been a break is bad grammat

  2. I would say "I was on break" as the correct way, "was" referencing the past and the break the action

  • Regarding your second point, not necessarily. If you've just got back from your break, or if the result of the break is still relevant in the present, you can use present perfect. – biziclop Oct 19 '15 at 21:40
  • The OP's original sentences do not include the indefinite article. I have left the requested sentences untouched, but formatted them in such a way that they look clearer now – Mari-Lou A Oct 20 '15 at 1:08

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