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    #1

    Had been reading or was reading.

    Dear teachers,

    Can you please tell me which following sentence is grammatical?

    1)I had been reading a book before you came here.
    2)I was reading a book before you came here.

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    #2

    Re: Had been reading or was reading.

    Quote Originally Posted by ercantuncer View Post

    Can you please tell me which of the following sentences is grammatical?

    1)I had been reading a book before you came here.
    2)I was reading a book before you came here.
    They are both grammatical.

  1. Boris Richard's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Had been reading or was reading.

    It's better to use past continuous tense rather than past perfect continuous if you don't include a duration.
    Reference : http://www.englishpage.com/verbpage/...ontinuous.html

    I'm not a teacher.

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    #4

    Re: Had been reading or was reading.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Thanks to Boris Richard's excellent link, I now think that I see the difference:

    1. "I was reading a book when you arrived." = I was reading a book at the exact moment that you arrived at my home and knocked on the door.

    2. "I had been reading a book when you arrived." = When you arrived at my home and knocked on the door, I was still reading a book or I had just finished reading.

    I have made up these sentences:

    3. I was sleeping when the earthquake shook the house. = The earthquake hit at 4:30 a.m. At that exact moment, I was still in dreamland.

    4. I had been sleeping when the earthquake shook the house. = The same as #3 OR the earthquake hit at 4:30 a.m. I had just gotten out of my bed at 4:29 in order to go to the bathroom!

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Had been reading or was reading.

    It's more natural to say "before you arrived" or "before you got here" than "before you came here".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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