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A plumber has been called to your house and has been working for 2 hours. Then, you realize that he is not in the house any more. U think he has left. And you ask one of your relatives:


- Where is the plumber who has been working here today?

or

- Where is the plumber who was working here today?

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Neither of those questions is wrong, but natural English is simply Where is the plumber?

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I was told that "Where is the plumber who has been working..." is more fitting for a series of recent actions. That's true It also suggests that the plumber is only working there temporarily.

But the second one is more fitting for one recent action. No? Yes.

Note also that the lack of a comma before 'who' makes the subordinate clause a defining clause. In other words, it suggests that there are other plumbers in the context but that the plumber who has been working here today or who was working here today is the one at we are asking about.

Let me repeat that the most likely question is simply 'Where is the plumber?' if there is just one plumber involved.

Clive

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Comments  

I was told that "Where is the plumber who has been working..." is more fitting for a series of recent actions.

But the second one is more fitting for one recent action. No?

 Clive's reply was promoted to an answer.
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