How to Answer “How long have you been here?”

“How Long Have You Been Here?”

“How long have you been here?” – English learners come across this question very often, but few actually know how to answer it. This question is something that native speakers use a lot, but the answers can be tricky, and they also can be different depending on the person’s situation. If you ask this question to a native speaker, you will get an answer, but if you ask this question to another foreigner, you might get a different type of answer. It’s easy to make mistakes, talking about the time they have been living in a particular place.

Sometimes the best answer to this question is simple, and it’s better to not use too many words. Let’s look at the wrong ways students try to ask this question:

  • “How many time have you been here?” 
    • With this question, the word “times” will always be plural.
      • “How many times have you been here?”
    • This question is used to ask how many times has someone visited a certain place!
      • Gabby: “John. How many times have you been here in Miami?”
      • John: “I have been here 4 times.

Finally, let’s look at the other way students ask this question:

  • “How long are you here?” (this is grammatically correct)
    • This question is in Present tense. It is asking someone if they are visiting this city for a certain amount of time before they go back home!
    • Gabby: “How long are you here in Miami?” 
    • John: “I’m here in Miami until Saturday.”
      • If John arrived in Miami on Monday, and he is leaving Saturday, and today is Wednesday, this means John is in Miami for 3 more days!

Monday—-Tuesday—-Wednesday—-Thursday—-Friday—-Saturday—-Sunday
(John arrives)            (“How long are                                        (John leaves)
                                         you in Miami?”)

  • “How long have you been here?” 
    • This is used to ask someone how many days/weeks/months have they stayed in a particular place. 
    • How many days has John been in Miami?
      • “I have been here for 2 days.” 
    • John can also give a different answer using “since” or “ago.”
      • John: “I have been in Miami since Monday” (I arrived on Monday)
      • John: “I came here to Miami two days ago.” (Today is Wednesday, and I arrived on Monday)

Monday—-Tuesday—-Wednesday—-Thursday—-Friday—-Saturday—-Sunday
(John arrives)            (“How long are                                        (John leaves)
                                         you in Miami?”)

When you meet native English speakers, they might ask you how long you have been visiting the United States. You can use the same answer structure we just learned, but you can also use it to answer different questions. How cool is that? Now, what other questions can we use this answer with? Here are several:

  • How long have you been playing guitar?
  • How long have you been working as a translator?
  • How long have you been writing this blog?
  • How long have you been learning English?

Watch the video below to learn more!

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