[Grammar] past continuous instead of past perfect continuous

FlyingKitties

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Hello everyone!

I visited one site, where I have found this:

Without a phrase like 'for an hour' or 'since March' it is possible to use the Past Continuous instead of the Past Perfect Continuous but this can change the meaning of the sentence.

I'm interested in how you guys use the past continuous instead of the past perfect continuous when the time of an action doesn't matter.

Unfortunately, there's no examples of this on that site, there's only examples where the usage of either the past perfect continuous or the past continuous leads to the change in meaning.

Here's some examples:

I'd been taking a bath before she called me.
- If I don't want to say something like "I'd been taking a bath for half an hour before she called me" or I don't want to talk about the time that the action takes, is it possible to just use the past continuous there?

I had been playing tennis for five years before the injury.
- If I don't want to say that playing tennis took 5 years before I get the injury, can I just say: I was playing tennis before the injury?

I'm new here, and I hope you help me! :)
 
Last edited:
J

J&K Tutoring

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First, let me recommend that, in the future, you number your questions so the responses can be most clear.

I think you're not quite clear on your verb tense understanding.

Past perfect continuous is used for continuation up to a particular past time, as in: I'd been taking a bath when she called me. (She called me just after my bath.)

Past continuous is for action continuing at a particular past time, as in: I was taking a bath when she called me. (I was in the tub when the phone rang.)


I had been playing tennis for five years before the injury. is not quite clear. Better to say, I had been playing tennis for five years when the injury occurred.

I had been playing tennis for five years before the injury.
- If I don't want to say that playing tennis took 5 years before I get the injury, can I just say: I was playing tennis before the injury?
Probably not. "I was playing tennis before the injury" separates the playing from the injury as a cause/effect. It becomes only a time reference.
 

lagoo

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I'd been taking a bath when she called me. (She called me just after my bath.)

If I say “I’d been taking a bath for 1 hour before she called me.”

In this situation, when did the action “call” happen?
 

jutfrank

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If I say “I’d been taking a bath for 1 hour before she called me.”

In this situation, when did the action “call” happen?

One hour after starting taking the bath.
 
J

J&K Tutoring

Guest
lagoo: "She called me just after my bath." is in the quotation you posted. That should be clear.

It might be possible to be confused by "I'd been taking a bath when she called me.", so best to rephrase according to the actual situation. I was trying to use the OP's words in my response. Better to say:

1. I was in the tub when she called.
2. I had just finished my bath when she called.
 
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