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General Writing and Grammar Help/RE: RE: Away, on vacation, off, off work, off duty


Dear Ted:

In your first answer regarding the sentences below, you wrote the following:

All are correct, and all SEEM to have the same meaning --- that you WERE away from your work for six weeks.

Here are the original sentences:

1) I have been AWAY for six weeks.

2) I have been ON VACATION for six weeks.

3) I have been OFF for six weeks.

4) I have been OFF WORK for six weeks.

5) I have been OFF DUTY for six weeks.

My question is this:

Why did you write, ".....that you WERE away from your work for six weeks" AND NOT ".....that you HAVE BEEN away from your work for six weeks" since the use of the present perfect tense in the above sentences denotes/shows an action that that began in the past BUT continues right up to the time of speaking -- the present?

Again, many, many thanks for your valuable help.


Dear Paolo:

I used the past tense just for the one-line message referring to your examples.  It would have been clearer if I had used the verbs in your examples.  My one line is correct, in that I look at your examples as being in the past -- to me!


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Ted Nesbitt


I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.


I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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