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  1. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #1

    She ran to a church because a ghost had been running after her.

    1. 'He was tired because he had been exercising so hard.
    It is possible that he was still exercising at that moment OR that he had just finished.'── quoted from this page.
    2. 'She ran to a church because a ghost had been running after her.'── written by me in this post. Piscean and GoesStation told me that the 'running' was (probably) not ongoing.

    Why could the past perfect continuous in #1 but not in #2 be ongoing?
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  2. Skrej's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: She ran to a church because a ghost had been running after her.

    In #1, we don't have enough information to decide if he's done exercising or not. People often continue exercising even when they're tired, so we don't really have anything to eliminate the possibility that he's still continuing to exercise. We get the phrase 'feel the burn' from this concept of continuing to exercise while we feel its effects. Ergo, there's just as good a possibility that he's still running as that he has stopped.

    In #2, as Piscean and GoesStation mentioned, she's no longer running because she has reached her destination. It's highly unlikely that she's continuing to run in circles inside the church.

    So you can see it's contextual clues that help determine whether or not the action is ongoing.
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  3. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: She ran to a church because a ghost had been running after her.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skrej View Post
    she's no longer running
    I don't mean she was still running when she reached the church.
    I mean the ghost was still running after her when she ran to the church in #1. The ongoing action refers to 'had been running' rather than 'ran'.
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    #4

    Re: She ran to a church because a ghost had been running after her.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    1. 'He was tired because he had been exercising so hard.
    It is possible that he was still exercising at that moment OR that he had just finished.'── quoted from this page.
    2. 'She ran to a church because a ghost had been running after her.'── written by me in this post. Piscean and GoesStation told me that the 'running' was (probably) not ongoing.

    Why could the past perfect continuous in #1 but not in #2 be ongoing?
    The two sentences are constructed differently. If you revise sentence 2, the past perfect continuous in its second clause changes meanings:

    She was exhausted because a ghost had been running after her.

    Now the reader doesn't know whether the ghost is still chasing the unfortunate victim.
    Last edited by GoesStation; 09-Jul-2016 at 14:21. Reason: To singularize a stray plural.
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  4. Boris Tatarenko's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: She ran to a church because a ghost had been running after her.

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    The two sentences are constructed differently. If you revise sentence 2, the past perfect continuous in its second clauses changes meanings:

    She was exhausted because a ghost had been running after her.

    Now the reader doesn't know whether the ghost is still chasing the unfortunate victim.

    I'd definitely think that the ghost isn't chasing her anymore.
    Please, correct all my mistakes. I should know English perfectly and if you show me my mistakes I will achieve my dream a little bit faster. A lot of thanks.

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  5. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: She ran to a church because a ghost had been running after her.

    Was the 'running' ongoing below?
    1. She called an exorcist because a ghost had been running after her.
    2. She was scared because a ghost had been running after her.
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  6. Piscean's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: She ran to a church because a ghost had been running after her.

    Probably not.

    You need to realise that it is difficult to say from one sentence in isolation. Perfect continuous forms are used to speak of an action that began in a time period before a later time point, and extended up to a time at or shortly before the later time point. If it extended right up to that time point, it might carry on through it. Context, as always, is important.

    Full meaning is rarely conveyed merely by the use of a tense/aspect.

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