Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14
  1. #1
    Verona_82 is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    995
    Post Thanks / Like

    had been looking or was looking

    Hello,

    I'm wondering if the past progressive is possible in the following sentence:

    I picked up the phone; it was Joe. He immediately asked me why I was out of breath. I told him I had been looking for my hamster that had escaped from his cage.

    I think it is. Am I right?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    24,573
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: had been looking or was looking

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Hello,

    I'm wondering if the past progressive is possible in the following sentence:

    I picked up the phone; it was Joe. He immediately asked me why I was out of breath. I told him I had been looking for my hamster that had escaped from his cage.

    I think it is. Am I right?

    Thank you.
    Yes. That's exactly the right tense for that context.

  3. #3
    Verona_82 is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    995
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: had been looking or was looking

    Thank you, emsr2d2!

    But what if he (or she?) had found the hamster just before the phone call, but was still out of breath because of searching for him? Would such a context justify the usage of the past perfect progressive?

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    24,573
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: had been looking or was looking

    If the hamster hadn't been found when he answered the phone, he would say "Yes, I'm out of breath because I'm in the middle of looking for my escaped hamster". In reported speech that would read "He told him he was looking for his escaped hamster."

    If the hamster has been found then it would be "I was looking for my escaped hamster." In reported speech, that would be "He told him he had been looking for his escaped hamster."

  5. #5
    Verona_82 is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    995
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: had been looking or was looking

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    If the hamster has been found then it would be "I was looking for my escaped hamster." "
    Emsr2d2, but why not "I've been looking for my escaped hamster"? Isn't his being short of breath the result of what has just been happening?

  6. #6
    herbiji is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Kurdish
      • Home Country:
      • Syria
      • Current Location:
      • Syria
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    122
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: had been looking or was looking

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Emsr2d2, but why not "I've been looking for my escaped hamster"? Isn't his being short of breath the result of what has just been happening?
    In reported speech the past continuous tense changed to past perfect continuous as in
    I was playing basketball _______ He said ( that ) he had been playing basketball.
    I was looking for my escaped hamster. _________He said( that) he had been looking for his escaped hamster.


  7. #7
    Verona_82 is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Ukraine
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    995
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: had been looking or was looking

    Quote Originally Posted by herbiji View Post
    In reported speech the past continuous tense changed to past perfect continuous as in
    I was playing basketball _______ He said ( that ) he had been playing basketball.
    I was looking for my escaped hamster. _________He said( that) he had been looking for his escaped hamster.

    Thank you. I'm aware of the changes in the reported speech. I was asking about the DIRECT speech in my post #5.

  8. #8
    herbiji is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Kurdish
      • Home Country:
      • Syria
      • Current Location:
      • Syria
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    122
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: had been looking or was looking

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Thank you. I'm aware of the changes in the reported speech. I was asking about the DIRECT speech in my post #5.
    In direct speech I think you can use the present perfect continuous since, as you mentioned, it is the result of what has just happened.
    let's wait experts

  9. #9
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    22,987
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: had been looking or was looking

    In direct speech you could use the present perfect continuous or the simple past. In my opinion the present perfect continuous would suggest that the looking had been going on for some time.
    Last edited by bhaisahab; 28-Oct-2011 at 21:40. Reason: Correct mistake.

  10. #10
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    24,573
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: had been looking or was looking

    For direct speech, if the hamster hasn't been found:

    1) "I'm looking for my hamster."
    2) "I've been looking for my hamster."

    For direct speech, if the hamster has been found:

    "I was looking for my hamster" or "I've been looking for my hamster for hours but it's OK, I have now found him."

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •