Tuesday, January 4, 2011

be at (something)

Almost always used in the present perfect tense. If you have been at something, it means that you have been working hard on something for a long time... or you've been trying to resolve something or find the solution.

1. I've been at this math equation for an hour and I still can't figure it out!

2. Larry King has been at it (hosting his talk show) for decades. I think he'll probably kick the bucket live on Larry King Live.

3. I've been at it for a few hours and I can't seem to get rid of the virus on my computer.

4. Researchers have been at it for years, but still haven't found a cure for AIDS.


  1. Isn't another important factor that you have not finished what you have been working on?

    I've been at it and am still continuing...

  2. Exactly. It's used in the present perfect or past perfect tense, so yes - it is generally something still in progress.