Reply to "Past Cont vs Past Perfect Cont,"

Rasha Assem posted:

Someone next door ................... heavy metal music all night long. I didn’t get a wink of sleep.

a) was playing
b) has played         
c)had been playing         
d) has been playing

I think that 'c' is the answer but 'a' is also possible.

Hello, Rasha and Ahmed,

The only answer I find incorrect is (b), and even (b) isn't ungrammatical; it's just extremely unnatural and somewhat awkward. But (a), (c), and (d) are all possible. Which is used will depend partly on the context.

I am sure that DocV will agree with me. I think his attention was somewhat diverted from the grammatical question at hand in that thread. He may not have strained himself to think of alternate contexts.

Answer (a) would be used in a context in which the night in question is in the recent past and one wished to express irritation (via the past progressive) about the fact that the heavy metal music played throughout the night.

Answer (c) would be used in a narrative about in the more distant past: "I felt exhausted that day. Someone had been playing heavy metal music all night long. I didn't get a wink of sleep."

Answer (d) would naturally be used if the speaker were just getting up and it was very early in the morning and still dark: "Someone has been playing heavy metal music all night long. I didn't get a wink of sleep."

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