Intermediate grammar exercise: past simple and present perfect questions with ‘how long’

English grammar practice exercise, for pre-intermediate and intermediate level.

In this exercise you will practise forming questions using how long in the past simple and present perfect.

Instructions:
Look at the following short dialogues. Fill in the gaps in the questions using the verb in brackets.

Example:
A: My father is a teacher.
B:
How long (be) a teacher?
A: Twenty-five years.


questions go herescore goes here

A Volkswagen Camper van (illustration by Christine Berrie)

Structure of present perfect continuous
positive negative question
I / you / we / they
have been working
I / you / we / they
haven’t been working
Have
I / you / we / they
been working?
he / she / it
has been working
he / she / it
hasn’t been working
Has
he / she / it
been working?
Present perfect continuous – common mistakes
Common mistakes Correct version Why?
It has been rain heavily all day. It has been raining heavily all day. The structure of the present perfect continuous is have/has + been + verb + -ing.
I have sat here for two hours. I have been sitting here for two hours. Verbs such as sit, wait, speak, etc. (‘non-stative’ verbs) suggest continuity and so are mostly used in the continuous (-ing) form.
Which?
I have worked here for five years.
I have been working here for five years.
When BOTH the simple and continuous forms are possible, native speakers prefer to use the continuous.