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What have you done? vs What have you been doing?

 
 
Reply Fri 18 Jan, 2019 07:48 am
Would you please give me a few examples in which it is correct to use "What have you done?" and some in which it is more appropriate to use "What have you been doing?"

Thank you
 
engineer
 
  3  
Reply Fri 18 Jan, 2019 08:44 am
@paok1970,
Interesting question because those two phrases have significantly different connotations. "What have you been doing" is a general question. You might ask this of someone you haven't seen in a while as a conversation starter.
"John, it's good to see you! What have you been doing?"

You could also use it in a specific situation. If you walked into the kitchen and someone has been cooking something you might ask "what are you doing?"

"What have you done" refers to a specific observation and has a negative connotation. If you walk in the kitchen and John is holding a bloody knife and there is a body on the floor you might say "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE??"
paok1970
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jan, 2019 09:10 am
@engineer,
You wrote:

If you walked into the kitchen and someone has been cooking something you might ask "what are you doing?"

My question is this:

Would it be equally correct to say, "If you walked into the kitchen and someone has been cooking something you might ask 'what have you been doing?' "

Again, thank you very much for the help.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jan, 2019 09:56 am
@paok1970,
You could, but that implies something in the past. If they were finished, that would be appropriate.
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