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Is it correct to start a sentence with "Have been"?

Have been looking into the issue since last week.

edit: fixed missing word since.

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, Community Aug 29 '16 at 20:57

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  • 1
    This is colloquial/informal- The initial [I] has been elided. – Jim Aug 29 '16 at 20:22
  • But the rest of the sentence (last week) doesn’t match. – Jim Aug 29 '16 at 20:24
  • 2
    See Conversational Deletion. The rest of the sentence is ok, if sloppy. It could easily be short for I have been looking into the issue for the last week or for I have been looking into the last week's issue. – John Lawler Aug 29 '16 at 20:27

As noted in some other answers, it is a sentence fragment, but that doesn't disqualify it as standard usage since so much of what we actually say is fragmentary. That said, I think it is an unidiomatic usage. The more typical truncation would leave off the "have" as well: "Been looking into it since last week." This is purely a conversational usage. I can't imagine it occurring in writing except as dialogue.


In English, that is a sentence fragment as there is not noun. In some languages, such as Spanish, were verbs are conjugated by noun, this can be acceptable. In English however, it is not. The easiest approach is to ask "Who has been looking into the issue?" The sentence does not tell you, therefore it is a fragment, not a complete sentence.

  • "Have been looking into the issue since last week" is probably not a question, since the original posted didn't put a question mark at the end. It's understood to mean "I have been looking into the issue since last week." "Who has been looking into the issue?" is not a good alternative, as it means something quite different. Saying it's a "sentence fragment" is accurate, but saying it's not acceptable is an over-simplification. It's not acceptable in formal writing, but sentence fragments have various uses in other types of English, and are common in speech. – sumelic Aug 29 '16 at 20:32
  • This ground has been trodden many times before on ELU. Sentence fragments are not considered unacceptable per se by most people nowadays, but should be used judiciously. OP's example would doubtless have a retrievable (from context) subject. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 29 '16 at 20:37
  • The op asked if it was correct, not if it was acceptable. Many incorrect English sentences are regularly used and accepted, but still are incorrect. If one cannot answer the question "Who did the action", then it is a sentence fragment and it not a properly constructed sentence. I use many every day as do most people, but they are still incorrect. – dlb Aug 29 '16 at 20:47
  • "Issue" and "week" are perfectly good nouns." – DJClayworth Aug 29 '16 at 20:48

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