We ask this question when somebody (re)appears ((wieder)auftauchen) after a time away, think about a boss to an employee “Where have you been, I’ve been looking for you?“. A partner asks a partner “Where have you been? I’ve been worried” or an acquaintance (Bekannte) to another acquaintance “Well, if it isn’t Dave? Long time, no see, (lange nicht gesehen), where (the hell) have you been?”. We can then follow up with a quick “What you been up to?” (Wie läuft’s bei dir so?), meaning ‘how are you and what have you been doing?’.
These can be genuine questions (of interest) for the most part. However, depending on the context, it can be more accusative (anklagende), inferring (hier: andeuten) that you were (possibly) up to no good (nichts Gutes im Schilde führen). So „What you been up to?“ now becomes (Was hast du nun angestellt?)
Before diving into the grammar, I reckon I should answer the question, too since I’ve had a long-time off blogging! Yep, I had to prepare for our move to the beautiful city of Valencia and since our arrival here, I had to take care of (sich um etw kümmern) all the things you have to do when you arrive in a new place.
Now to the grammar of it all. “Where have you been?” and “What have you been up to?” are the present perfect form. We are talking about the RESULT NOW of a past event:
You went away, so in that time, „Where were you?” (simple past form).
Now you are back; we say, “where’ve you been?”. Please note here we use the 3rd form of ‘to be’ and NOT “gone” – the 3rd form of ‘to go’ even though it seems more logical. Another little strange thing about the English language!
Compare the two:
“Where’s Dave gone?” he’s not here now, so where is he.
“Where’s Dave been?” he was away, and now he’s back, and where was he during the time away.
I hope that makes sense! As always, I hope you got a few titbits from this blog post.
Finally, as for me, I must say it’s great to be back. I love sitting down to a blank computer screen and writing.
So here’s a quick tip: why not connect this link to your mobile home screen?
See you, Dave.
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