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General Writing and Grammar Help/What have you been getting up to?

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Question
Dear Ted:

Does the question "What have you been getting up to?" make sense in English?

If so, when is it used?

Would you please give me some examples?

Also, is there a difference between the above question and "What have you been up to?

Many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Does the question "What have you been getting up to?" make sense in English?

*** NO.  You have used the continuous form [progressive], which makes no sense.  When you want to know what a person is up to and want to use the progressive form, you must write it this way:  "What have you been doing?"

If so, when is it used?

Would you please give me some examples?

Also, is there a difference between the above question and "What have you been up to?

*** Actually, the sentence you just wrote is the correct form.  It's another way of asking what a person has been doing.

EXAMPLES:

What are you doing?  [present]
What have you been up to?  [present perfect]

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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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.

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

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

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