During his stay in England, he had picked up an English accent.

What does the underlined word 'during' mean here?

a) in

b) from the beginning to the end of a period of time (the period he stayed in England)

c) at one point in a period of time, or through the whole of a period of time

I go for 'b'. Is the use of the past perfect tense in this context 'he had picked up an English accent' correct? Why?


As a teacher, I can say that this is a very poor quality item. To begin with, the sentence has misused the past perfect. It is not logical the way it is used. It should be "During his stay in England, he picked up an English accent."

It is not possible to know what the speaker had in mind with this comment. We know that a person does not pick up an accent in a day or a few days, so using logic, it wouldn't be c. However, most items like this don't require the student to evaluate the truth of the statement. On the other hand, it is objectively impossible not to consider that point. I would be very surprised that the creator of the question was taking all this into account. For this reason, I support answer b. The set up of the item is not good for students learning how to understand and use "during."