It is my first ask in this forum. I am not sure about proper grammar usage, so I want to ask someone who knows it well.

If I want to ask a person for a duration of time he has worked at the specific job and I am not sure if he still works or not, which tense should I use, Past Simple or Present Perfect Continuous?

A. How long did you work in that company?

B. How long have you been working in that company?

As I understand in option "A" I suppose that he doesn't work anymore, and in option "B" he keeps on working.

  • 3
    Nikita, your question clearly belongs to English Language Learners Stack Exchange. You'd better try your luck there. (did you worked is plain wrong, by the way).
    – tum_
    Feb 27 at 15:35

Indeed, English Language Learners Stack Exchange is really the right place to ask such questions: https://ell.stackexchange.com/
Also, you can ask it at English Language & Usage SE: https://english.stackexchange.com/

Anyhow, “how long” + “work” does require Perfect and Continuous. It's irrelevant whether he still has that job or not, all you want to know is “how long” and that parameter is relevant as for “now” in any situation, especially when he is still alive and you can ask him questions. That's why B is better than A. There's a third option, using Present Perfect, let's call it variant C:

C. How long have you worked for that company?

C is also much better than A, and if you're sure he doesn't work there anymore, it is C that you'd use, not A. And “for the company” is much better than “in the company” which sounds more like “in that group of people” rather than “in that business.”


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