I was really tired because I had been working late the night before.
I want to show cause and effect. If I say instead
I was really tired because I worked late the night before.
does that change the meaning or feel in any way?
English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
Your first example is grammatically incorrect. "Had been" is the past perfect continuous form. It describes something that happened in the past from the perspective of it having not yet finished. You cannot use this form at all because getting tired was a consequence of the entire action (working late) rather than something that occured during that past action. To use the past perfect continuous form you would need to create a definitive reference that caused the condition because the continuous action, uncompleted, could not have yet caused the condition.
I was really tired because I had been working late and had to move twenty bags of chicken feed.
Your second example is also grammatically incorrect. It should be written with the past perfect simple form to describe a condition in the past that occured as a result of something that was completed in the past.
I'm assuming that the first part of your sentence is intentional; that you're discussing something that occured in the past (being tired) that was caused by something even more distant in the past (working).
I was really tired because I had worked late the night before.
If, on the other hand, you are trying to describe a current condition caused by a past event, you need to use the past simple form.
I am really tired because I worked late last night.
I was really tired because I had been working the night before.
That's correct. Had been working is a continuous action in the past preceding the time in the past of "I was really tired"
The sentence is grammatical.
He finished the job early because he had been making efforts to always do so.
It's fine to use a past perfect continuous when describing an action that precedes one in the simple past. The effort was made up and until he finished the job early.
I was really tired [last Thursday] because I had worked late the night before [Wednesday night]. The working late precedes the "was really tired". It goes up until that moment, in the past.
In the following sentence, both actions are finished.
He ate quickly because he wanted to finish fast.