Past Perfect / PP Continuous (sentences)


1) Jane was sad because she had quarrelled with her boyfriend.

2) Jane was sad because she had been quarrelling with her boyfriend.


What's the difference between those sentences?


Here is what I'm thinking about their usage:

In the second sentence, we're talking about the situation when I visited my friend (Jane) and at that time she was right after or a short time after a quarrel with her boyfriend.

From the first sentence we only know that Jane had an argument with her boyfriend but we don't know exactly when.


Am I right? Please, let me know what you think about this case.

Thanks in advance!

1 answer


The first sentences implies that there was a single quarrel at some indefinite point in the past. The second implies that the quarrels could have been over a period of time, due to the use of the progressive tense. If it was a single quarrel, go with the first. If their quarrelling was a routine with them, go for the second.

link comment answered Sep 18 '13 at 21:43 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow

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