Hi,

I would like to know the following sentence is correct or not?

I was in a meeting, when you called me.(Simple Past)

I had been in a meeting, when you called me.(Past Perfect)

Which sentence is correct, if I am talking about a situation wherein my friend called me and I didn't pick the call.

Which sentence is grammatically correct?

Suppose, this incidence has occurred today in the morning.

Thanks, Harry.
harry1999I was in a meeting, when you called me.
No comma.

I was in a meeting when you called me.

harry1999I had been in a meeting, when you called me.
Same problem.

harry1999Which sentence is correct, if I am talking about a situation wherein my friend called me and I didn't pick the call.
Both are correct. The first one is preferable.

harry1999Suppose, this incidence has occurred today in the morning.
No comma. incident. today in the morning is not English.

Suppose this incident occurred this morning.

It makes no difference when the incident occurred.

CJ
Could you explain the difference betwen the two sentences? I would also go for the first one.
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cocoabutterCould you explain the difference betwen the two sentences? I would also go for the first one.
Both situations occurred at about the same time - being in the meeting and receiving the call. It doesn't make a lot of sense to insist upon the anteriority of the meeting with had. It's obvious because of common sense. Also, there isn't enough context established in the past point of view to warrant an indication of a time even farther in the past.

CJ
Hi. Would you say the second sentence given by harry1999, the person who started this thread, denotes that the person had been in the meeting up to the time of calling?

harry1999 wrote/gave these two sentences.

I was in a meeting, when you called me.(Simple Past)

I had been in a meeting, when you called me.(Past Perfect)

I think it would be different in this case:

I had seen her when you called me.

In this case, I believe the action of seeing her occurred before the action of calling.

When I was studying the present perfect, I think I learned that certain verbs like "live" and "work" can denote the continuance of the action up to the present without using their continuous forms, but I am not sure the "be" was part of those verbs. Do you think this carries some relevance to the discussion here?

How about these? Do they denote the action happening up to the time of "coming there" and "his boss' firing him" respectively? I think no. 2 definitely denotes that, but I am not sure about no. 1. I think no. 1 could denote his being in Japan some time in the past (before coming there), not necessarily up to the time of his coming to the place, although not so likely that might be. I hope I wrote clearly to reflect what I wanted to say, but I am not sure.

1. Before coming here, he had been in Japan for three years.
2. HeI had been really happy in my job until his boss fired him two years ago.
AnonymousWould you say the second sentence ... denotes that the person had been in the meeting up to the time of calling?
1 I was in a meeting, when you called me.(Simple Past)
2 I had been in a meeting, when you called me.(Past Perfect)
Yes. There is the remote possibility of a second interpretation, however, in which I would have to answer "No". The second interpretation, which comes less easily to mind, is "I had already been in (= attended) a meeting when you called me".
AnonymousI think it would be different in this case:

I had seen her when you called me.

In this case, I believe the action of seeing her occurred before the action of calling.
Yes. That is correct.
AnonymousWhen I was studying the present perfect, I think I learned that certain verbs like "live" and "work" can denote the continuance of the action up to the present without using their continuous forms, but I am not sure the "be" was part of those verbs. Do you think this carries some relevance to the discussion here?
I'm not sure if that's relevant here. I don't quite understand what connection you're trying to make except that one of the sentences above has the verb 'be'.
AnonymousHow about these? Do they denote the action happening up to the time of "coming there" and "his boss' firing him" respectively? I think no. 2 definitely denotes that, but I am not sure about no. 1. I think no. 1 could denote his being in Japan some time in the past (before coming there), not necessarily up to the time of his coming to the place, although not so likely that might be. I hope I wrote clearly to reflect what I wanted to say, but I am not sure.

1. Before coming here, he had been in Japan for three years.
2. He I had been really happy in my his job until his boss fired him two years ago.
1. This is like the first example above. The first interpretation that comes to mind involves a situation that continued up to the time of 'coming here'. The less usual interpretation is that there was some period of time during which 'he was in Japan', but that this period ended at some time before 'his coming here'.

2. This is more like the second example above. The happiness lasted up to the time the boss fired him. I think it would be unreasonable to posit a gap in time during which he had been unhappy but his boss had not yet fired him. There's nothing in the situation that leads me to make that interpretation.

I think in general you are looking for a way to distinguish between these different kinds of usage of a perfect tense:

a. Only one interpretation: with a gap.
b. Only one interpretation: without a gap.
c. Two interpretations: with a gap or without a gap.

I'm sorry to say that I can't offer you a foolproof way of differentiating these cases except to work out the logic of the specific situation that the sentence presents.

CJ
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