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The prince had been searching for ten hours when he was beginning to lose hope means the searching was finished that is why he was beginning to lose hope

this is good but can I replace by

"was searching" if at the time of writing he was still searching and did not give up searching even if he was also beginning to lose hope

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You are correct in that "the prince was searching...." is past continuous tense and implies that the search is still going on from the perspective of the writer/speaker.

However, "the prince had been searching for ten hours..." (which is past perfect progressive tense) does not necessarily mean he has stopped searching either.

Examples:

The prince had been searching for ten hours when he gave up.

This specifies that the search ended after ten hours, so the search is over.

The prince had been searching for ten hours when he began to lose hope.

This only says that he began to lose hope, not that he stopped searching. It points to an event that occurred (his giving it hope) and it is that which occurred in the past.

  • was searching is it possible or not and why not was beginning if the beginning was not over – user5577 Feb 15 at 14:41
  • @user5577 I do not understand your question. – Astralbee Feb 15 at 14:43
  • @user5577, in this particular context, you can use was searching, but this doesn't mean that they're always interchangeable. – Lucian Sava Feb 15 at 15:03
  • ok in these context I can use was searching but the emphasize is not on the duration but the present moment and was beginning is it possible (a beginning can last sometimes a long time) – user5577 Feb 15 at 15:15

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