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Ali was enjoying his weekend at the sports center in Manama. He was playing in a local pool championship. Ali had been playing well for half an hour and 1 won/had won three of the first five games. He put down the glass he 2 was drinking/had been drinking from and was getting ready to pot the black to win the final game when his false teeth dropped out.

It seems to me that all the options are possible. Is it possible?

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TicceAli had been playing well for half an hour and 1 won/had won three of the first five games. He put down the glass he 2 was drinking/had been drinking from and ...

Once the first past perfect is used, establishing the time frame, it is fairly customary for writers to continue with the simple past, which will be interpreted by the reader as a continuation of the actions at the time established by the first past perfect. This avoids the constant repetition of 'had', 'had', 'had'.

TicceIt seems to me that all the options are possible. Is it possible?

So yes. As the writer, once you have established that first "Ali had been playing", you can control this yourself and express it in whatever combination of simple past and past perfect that sounds best to you.

CJ

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This excerpt was taken from a grammar. They insist that the correct answers are:

Ali had been playing well for half an hour and had won three of the first five games. He put down the glass he was drinking from and ...


Why? Are they just lazy to point out all the options possible or what?

Not all of these kinds of questions have definite answers. Different people may have different opinions. The authors of that grammar book may be emphasizing tense matching, another principle that writers follow. So the first sentence has the past perfect in both clauses, and then the second sentence has the simple past in both clauses.

TicceAre they just lazy to point out all the options possible or what?

It's more a question of pedagogy. The authors of textbooks decide what aspects of grammar they want to focus on, which amounts to deciding which topics they feel are the most important for students to know. After all, you can't include in one book every little fact about every little word and expression in a whole language. Once the basic thrust of their book is decided, they tend to stick to it throughout the whole book, and that means leaving some things out.

CJ

I see, it makes sense.

The last question. Do you agree with my interpretations?

1 He put down the glass he was drinking from and ...

The idea is that he would continue drinking from it

2 He put down the glass he had been drinking from and ...

The idea is that he wouldn't go on drinking from it

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As I read them, neither 1 nor 2 strictly implies that the drinking is about to stop or that the drinking is about to continue. I'd say that the question of whether the drinking action will continue is unanswerable no matter which of those tenses you use.

Emotion: sad

CJ