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 using how long in past simple and present perfect questions.

Exercise 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

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.