+2

Dear all,

I would like to ask one question regarding the past perfect continuous tense. I know that to use past perfect continuous tense there must be two actions in the past: one continuous action and one single finished action. Kindly tell me whether in the following context past perfect continuous tense is possible.

1) Suppose one person retired from the Vigilance department on 30/11/2019. Can he say on the very next day, i.e. on 01/12/2019 "I had been working in the Vigilance department since 2000", without another single finished action? If this is wrong, kindly tell me which tense is applicable in this context to show the continuous action in the past.


Thank you.

+3
cat navy 425 Suppose one person retired from the Vigilance department on 30/11/2019. Can he say on the very next day, i.e. on 01/12/2019 "I had been working in the Vigilance department since 2000", without another single finished action?

It is very unlikely that someone would say that in the given situation. As MountainHiker said, the speaker would most likely use the simple past in that situation.

I worked (there) since 2000.

cat navy 425I know that to use past perfect continuous tense there must be two actions in the past: one continuous action and one single finished action.

Here are some examples of how the past perfect continuous works. There are lots of patterns, but these are fairly common. The part in blue shows the action or event where the past is established. The part in red shows where the activity occurred which led up to the past action or event.

Past perfect continuous in a content clause

Alfonso said he had been talking to some smaller schools but had no other offers.
They estimated they had been helping with the annual toy pickup for at least seven years.
The Chicago Tribune revealed last year that the village had been drawing water from a contaminated well.

Past perfect continuous in a relative clause

Officers found minors who had been drinking and fighting.
Last week I trimmed the tree limbs that had been covering a portion of the roof.
At the time, the parents accused a mystery woman who had been hanging around the hospital.

Past perfect continuous mentioned first; past mentioned later

He had been missing since noon Tuesday, when he set off in his canoe on the river.
They had been sledding on the nearby hill and eventually got too tired to keep climbing back up.
They had been selling candy outside the store for a few weeks and were wearing Santa hats.


If you're feeling strong, here's a more complex network of tenses:

The test will determine whether Eidesen had been abusing alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident, Lobhoff said.

An analysis of this sentence gives us this order of events, actions, and activities:

1) Was Eidesen abusing alcohol or drugs? Or not?
2) There was an accident.
3) A test was done OR A test is going to be done.
4) We will know (from the test) the answer to the questions in 1).
5) Lobhoff reported (1) through (4).

CJ

+1

I believe we would use simple past tense.

I worked in X department from January 1, 2000 to November 30, 2019.

or

I worked in X department for almost twenty years starting in January 1, 2000.

Here's a thread where CalifJim provided some great information and examples to demonstrate simple past tense for a duration of time in the past:

https://www.englishforums.com/English/SimplePastTenseDuration-Time/bmqpgv/post.htm

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Thanks a lot for your reply and for sharing me the fantastic note of Calif Jim Sir.

Small correction: Thanks a lot for your reply and sharing with me the fantastic note from CalifJim.

You could also rephrase: Thanks a lot for your reply and sharing CalifJim's fantastic note. (This version is shorter, which is usually better.)

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 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.

CJ Sir, thanks a lot for this valuable note regarding the various contexts to use past perfect continuous tense. Kindly see the sentence "I worked (there) since 2000." It is new knowledge to me that "since" can be used with the simple past tense. I was under the impression that "since" and "for" can be used with present perfect tense, present perfect continuous tense and past perfect continuous tense.

Thank you.

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cat navy 425 Kindly see the sentence "I worked (there) since 2000." It is new knowledge to me that "since" can be used with the simple past tense.

That's an "oops!" I read it too fast and wrote my answer too fast. Good catch.

(I started working there in 2000, and) I worked there until yesterday is better for the situation you described.

CJ

CJ Sir, your reply is so fast. Thanks a lot.