2

Here's the context.

Even though it was late May, it was still a bit chilly outside. We lived less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean, so the coastal breeze was often cool and salty. But lately, the skies had been windier than usual.

Why not were but had been here?

What if I say "But lately, the skies were windier than usual"

I have no idea what is difference.

2

Even though it was late May, it was still a bit chilly outside. We lived less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean, so the coastal breeze was often cool and salty. But lately, the skies had been windier than usual.

The entire paragraph is in the simple past tense starting in late May. So anything before that point in time and up to that point would use the past perfect.

/had been___________________/**late May** _[simple past]_______now or present.

In other words, until late May,the weather had been windier than usual.

|improve this answer|||||
1

The difference is that the phase from the text (with Past Perfect) clearly puts 'lately' to the past, where all the events of the narrative take place. 'Lately' is earlier than something the author plans to describe from that point, still using Past Indefinite, while in case of the Past Indefinite there would be a possibility for a reader to suppose that the author makes a digression (with that 'lately') to the moment of writing.

|improve this answer|||||

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.