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    ostap77 is offline Key Member
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    Default advice on the use of the past perfect progressive

    We can use the past progressive or the past perfect progressive to stress the ongoing nature in the past. Correct?

    1)"We were watching a soccer match before we went out."

    OR

    2)"W had been watching a soccer match before we went out."

    Would people prefere to use the past progressive in this context in informal conversation?

    We can never use the past progressive to stress the duration. Correct?

    3)"I was watching a soccer match for 30 minutes( half an hour) before we went out." Would be incorrect?

    OR

    4)"I had been watching a soccer for half an hour ( 30 minutes) before we went out." Correct?

    Though we can use it in a question
    5) "How long were you watching a soccer match for before you went out?" Correct?

    If we want to give a full answer not a short one "Half an hour" than we say

    6) "We had been watching for half an hour before we went out." Correct?

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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: advice on the use of the past perfect progressive

    Quote Originally Posted by ostap77 View Post
    We can use the past progressive or the past perfect progressive to stress the ongoing nature in the past. Correct?

    1)"We were watching a soccer match before we went out."

    OR

    2)"We had been watching a soccer match before we went out."

    Would people prefere to use the past progressive in this context in informal conversation?

    This is very much a personal matter. You are probably right, but not for everybody.

    We can never use the past progressive to stress the duration. Correct?

    3)"I was watching a soccer match for 30 minutes( half an hour) before we went out." Would be incorrect?

    I feel that many people could say this.

    OR

    4)"I had been watching a soccer for half an hour ( 30 minutes) before we went out." Correct? YES

    Though we can use it in a question
    5) "How long were you watching a soccer match for before you went out?" Correct? You'll certainly hear it.

    If we want to give a full answer not a short one "Half an hour" than we say

    6) "We had been watching for half an hour before we went out." Correct? Some would use a past progressive here.
    My answers are not too helpful, I am afraid. The problem may be that many of us in the EFL word use past perfect forms because so many course books have suggested that we should! We dream up examples to help our students practise it, forgetting that in real life people often use just past forms. Try not to worry too much about it. Collect examples from what you see and hear, and form your own opinion. I think it's probably true to say that if you don't use a past perfect form when a native speaker would, you will still be understood. (This is not true for hypothetical and counterfactual situations, but that's for another thread).
    Last edited by 5jj; 29-Oct-2010 at 10:21. Reason: typo

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