At 10:00 last night, it had been raining for an hour.

In this sentence how do we understand the time? In other words, the hour that was mentioned in this sentence, what does it mean?

Does it mean that the rain started at 9 and lasted until 10, or it started at 10 and lasted until 11?

2 Answers 2


It means the rain started at 9, and at 10, it was still raining.

10:00 last night is a moment in the past we are talking about.

The past perfect means we're talking about time before that moment.

The progressive means the action we're talking about wasn't over yet.


The past perfect progressive puts emphasis on the course or duration of an action taking place before a certain time in the past. In this case, the time in the past was 10:00 last night, and the action was the rain. The statement says that at the time in the past, it had been raining for one hour. One hour before 10:00 is 9:00. At 10:00 last night, nobody had any knowledge of how much longer the rain might continue, and 11:00 is after 10:00, not before. English Grammar Online

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