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Write the best verb-form for the blank. A: Who have you worked with? B: I ________ with people from all over the world.

The intended answer is 'have worked'. One of my students answered, 'have been working'. Of course it makes sense. But do you think 'have been working' can be called the best form for that blank above?

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    Is there a phrasing in the answer that you're not sure about? – dwjohnston May 2 '14 at 1:19
  • According to Google Books, 1,340,000 people from all over the world have been mentioned in print. OP obviously needs to get out more and meet some of them. – FumbleFingers May 2 '14 at 1:38
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    The edit to the title focuses on "all over the world", but the original question asked about "have been working" versus "I have worked" in a particular context. (On that subject, it might be better if the question asked if both were equally appropriate or acceptable in context, not whether they're grammatical.) – snailboat May 2 '14 at 2:02
  • The original title was "Is this answer grammatically correct?" Agreed that the title is overly vague and tiresome (there are so many questions with identical titles) but the user (not @snailboat!) who edited the title didn't help improve things. Tags should be edited imo. – Mari-Lou A May 2 '14 at 7:29
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There is a bit of a mismatch. The question asks who [whom] you have worked with. It asks, a priori, about (a) people you worked with but no longer work with and (b) people you have been working with, i.e., people you are still working with.

A reply that answers about people in either class, (a) or (b), is appropriate, as is a reply that answers about people in both classes.

So the student's answer is OK in being limited to class (b). But it's possible that the questioner really wanted to know about all people in (a) or (b), and the student could have included people in (a) but did not.

There is not really enough context to know whether the questioner would be satisfied with the answer given. That's why we have conversations that go beyond one question and answer. ;-)

As for a fill-in-the-blank answer, the teacher was no doubt looking for a response that uses the same tense: have worked. I have been working might well be an indication that the student missed the generality of the question, i.e., did not realize that s?he could include people with whom s?he no longer works.

  • There actually is enough context here to know what the questioner was looking for since the context is a test asking questions about verbs. :) – MrHen May 19 '14 at 14:12
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If this were an exam question, I would advise the student to use the present perfect structure.
The question is in the present perfect, "Who have you worked with so far?" The examiner is probably looking for an answer that echoes the same structure

I've worked with people from all over the world.

The contracted form makes the sentence sound more natural too. In the REAL world, however,

I've been working with people from all over the world

is absolutely fine, people say it all the time. The present perfect continuous tense implies that the speaker is currently working abroad or has just returned, the continuous tense emphasizes the action is not completed but ongoing.

In brevis, both forms are acceptable and grammatical.

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It's just as idiomatic as the other possibility. In these situations, context is always of prime importance. Because no context is supplied here, both variants are equally valid.

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