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Students (12-14) were asked to make an interrogative sentence from the following words using the present perfect tense:

your parents/ go abroad / during summer

So obviously they wrote:

Have your parents been abroad during the summer?

For me, this is incorrect and "during" shouldn't be used with the present perfect.

Is it correct?

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  • 2
    I see nothing wrong with it, provided the summer is still happening, or very recent. It would be odd spoken now, and might then have a habitual meaning ("during the summer" = "in summer") - adding "ever" would make that meaning clearer. – Colin Fine Jan 13 '16 at 17:50
  • I agree, but unfortunately 'ever' wasn't included – smusca Jan 14 '16 at 17:43
  • Nothing wrong with it. Yes, add ever as Colin says. – Lambie Feb 12 '16 at 20:43
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For me the sentence is not ungrammatical, but it asks a strange question: among all summers, has there been at least one in which your parents were abroad?

I say all summers because you could say, strangely but not ungrammatically, "I've been abroad during my freshman year, my junior year, and during the summers - it's always been a blast."

As for mixing the present perfect and "during," if the above isn't doing it for you, one solid counterexample should be enough to shatter that rule. How do you like:

I haven't been abroad during the summer since I was a Freshman.

I like it just fine. Or how's this:

I've been famished during the day every day this week.

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Both present perfect and past tense could work in this case. Neither is incorrect, although I would interpret them slightly differently.

Were your parents abroad during summer?

I would interpret this as asking whether my parents were out of the country during the entire summer period.

Have your parents been abroad during summer?

I would interpret this as asking whether my parents were out of the country at any point during summer. Maybe only a week, maybe the entire summer; it is left specifically vague.

  • Actually, the proposed question said "the summer" rather than merely "summer." I think the problem is not whether any of the sentences being contemplated are ungrammatical. Rather, it is that the situation implied by some of the sentences is unusual enough that, in practice, the sentences would probably be asked in a different way. "Have your parents been abroad all this summer" is a lot clearer than "Have you parents been abroad during the summer." But the latter is ungrammatical. – Jeff Morrow Sep 28 '17 at 15:56
  • My prior comment should have said "not ungrammatical" rather "ungrammatical." The time limit on editing comments is very restrictive. – Jeff Morrow Sep 28 '17 at 16:03
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'during [the] summer' is adverbial and has nothing to do with the verb ([to] go). 'Have been' is present and perfect, but it ignores the verb. A better answer would be: 'Have your parents gone abroad during the summer?'

  • Sorry , don't agree. 'Have your parents gone abroad' implies they are not around and you are making an enquiry at that precise moment 'Did your parents go abroad during the summer?' implies the summer is finished. – smusca Jan 14 '16 at 17:44
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    'Gone' means they have yet to return, so you would not include an expression like 'during' , you would simply say 'Have your parents gone abroad? – smusca Jan 14 '16 at 17:51
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    That's just wrong: the source was 'go', not 'went', so 'did' is out. 'Have gone' implies nothing about the return, only that the going away was done recently. (They may also have returned recently.) I'll admit that mixing perfect 'have gone' with progressive 'during' sounds odd, but the progressive doesn't make the perfect impossible. – AmI Feb 3 '16 at 18:56

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