When someone asks me during a phone call " where have you been " then I answer as follow : I have been busy

1-Does it necessarily means that I was busy and I am still busy or could it means that I was busy until the time of holding the phone call ?

2-can I say "I have been busy (for/since/over) the last 2 days".

  • 1
    For an answer to (2), yes you can say 'I have been busy for/over the last 2 days'. For (1), this might not be a technical response, but I would say that 'I have been busy' carries some implication that you are still busy. If this isn't what you intended, I'd recommend you say 'I was busy'.
    – Benjamin
    Apr 21, 2020 at 18:31

1 Answer 1


1/ It necessarily means that you were busy until the time you answered the call or approximately until that time; you do not make the difference if the period during which you were busy stops at a time relatively near the time when you speak.

2/ You can use all three prépositions (ref., ref., ref.). However, each is use according to its own syntax. Using the locution "last two days" you can only say can "I have been busy (for/over) the last 2 days.".

  • I have been bysy over the years.          I have been busy for the years.
  • I have been bysy for years.                   I have been busy over years.

"Since" must be followed by the specification of a time in the past, not a period, unless this period is considered as a point in time.

  • They have been working on that since the 1940's.

Therefore, you can't say "I have been busy since the last 2 days.".

You can say for instance "I have been busy since this morning." if the time when you speak is well after 12 o'clock; this is so because you can take the period of time as a point in time. If the time of speaking is still in the Morning you are mentioning, then it makes no sense to say "since this morning".

Moreover, a period specified by "the last…" can never be considered as a point in the past to use with "since"; this is so because the time when you speak is more or less included in it. Of course, the following ngram is no guarantee this construction has not been used but it shows that it must be very rare; I am no native speaker, but I believe that native speakers will find it incorrect.

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