until & when

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kirimaru

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I am confused with the uses of the two words and sometimes use them incorrectly.

Here is a sentence including my mistake .
I had lived there for 10 years .........I decided to return to my homeland again.

I chose until because I often see that the clause preceding until is usually in past perfect tense and the one following it normally is in simple past tense .
However , the key is when .I don't know why.Please clarify them for me
Thanks in advance.
 

BobK

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Well I've seen either there, and prefer neither ;-) . He are my preferred versions:

1: I had been living there for ten years when I returned...
2: I lived there for ten years, when I returned...
3: I lived there [actually for ten years as matter of fact, but I'm not saying that] until I returned...

So, in 1 the past perfect continuous is the background for the simple past "I returned"; in 2, "when" is a subordinating conjuction; and in 3 "until I returned" is an adverbial that replaces "for ten years".

But, as I said, I've heard both. In the "until" version I think the speaker (unwittingly) "plans" the sentence without the "for ten years", and then adds the extra information (and ends up with a sentence that probably wouldn't survive the editor's pen if it was written down). I wouldn't say "until" is right there, but I certainly wouldn't say it's wrong. So don't be too hard on yourself;-)

b
 

kirimaru

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Thanks for your help.

Well I've seen either there, and prefer neither ;-) . He are my preferred versions:

1: I had been living there for ten years when I returned...

There is one thing I do not understand and would like your help once more.

At school ,I was taught that "past perfect continuous tense is used to indicate an action which starts and continues to happen till a point of time in the past."
In this case ,I think the speaker did not live"there" when saying this because he "returned to his homeland" .
Why is the past perfect continuous tense still used in this case ?
Is it the difference between what I learned and what is in fact used ?
I am so worried about that .:cry:
Please clarify for me.
 

David L.

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"past perfect continuous tense is used to indicate an action which starts (1990, living in China) and continues to happen till a point of time in the past." (2000, when I returned to Vietnam) and I am looking back, remembering and saying this in 2008 (at which time I could be living anywhere in the world, if I have moved again since 2000).
 
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BobK

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Thanks for your help.



There is one thing I do not understand and would like your help once more.

At school ,I was taught that "past perfect continuous tense is used to indicate an action which starts and continues to happen till a point of time in the past."
In this case ,I think the speaker did not live"there" when saying this because he "returned to his homeland" .
Why is the past perfect continuous tense still used in this case ?
Is it the difference between what I learned and what is in fact used ? No. Everything's fine! There's nothing to worry about.
I am so worried about that .:cry:
Please clarify for me.

In this sentence, the past perfect does refer to that sort of continuous action (or, in this case, state): until he returned (past simple) he had been living (past perfect) away from home.

Maybe your confusion comes from the way the rule is stated: discussing grammar, the past perfect continuous refers to the continuous action/state (that's what the tense does, so the rule describes it in the present tense). But when talking about the facts referred to by the past perfect continuous, you would use some kind of past tense (depending on the context) - [the] "past perfect continuous tense is used to indicate an action which start[ed] and continued to happen till a point of time in the past."

I hope that's clearer - and I haven't muddled you further! ;-)

b
 
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