How long have you been feeling like this?

AIM: To consider how different verb forms have different meanings.

INTRODUCTION: The verb form we choose affects the meaning of what we say. Look at these questions and responses from the depression case.

How long have you been feeling like this? – Just over a month or so.

What else have you been noticing? – I haven’t been going out as much.

The verb form is the present perfect progressive: has/have + been + [verb]-ing

It indicates that the activity (e.g., feeing like this, not going out as much) started in the past and is still ongoing (at the time of speaking about it).

Compare the different verb forms used in these three questions and the responses given. The timelines and text explain the different meanings they have.

  • How long have you been working there? – About three months so far.

  • How long were you working there? – About three months, until the contract finished.

  • How long are you working there? – About three months to start with, maybe more.

INSTRUCTIONS:: Read the context. Select all the sentences that accurately describe elements of each situation. You may select any number of sentences (from none to all five).

Question 1: His girlfriend went on holiday six weeks ago. He says his current low mood started then. She returns in two weeks.

Question 2: He went into the nursing home three years ago. He died there a year ago. His wife is still upset about his death.

Question 3: The baby was born in hospital prematurely and is now two months old. There were complications four weeks ago. They are resolved. The baby remains under observation in hospital.

Question 4: The registrar started working at the clinic last week. Her new rotation lasts six months. It is the first time she has worked in a rural area.

Question 5: He started a five-day course of antibiotics a week ago. He stopped taking them after three days. He still has a throat infection.

We require all questions to be answered.