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Look at the following sentences:

  1. It rained all day yesterday so I stayed indoors
  2. It was raining all day yesterday so I stayed indoors
  3. It had been raining all day yesterday so I stayed indoors

Are all the sentences correct? If yes, what is the difference in meaning?

What are the possible expressions with "all day" in other tenses?

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"all day" is acting as an adverb, giving us more information about "raining".

To show the pattern, here's an alternative adverb.

it was raining heavily so I stayed in doors.

The differences between the three phrases are to do with the tenses. Try each phrase without the all day:

It rained yesterday so I stayed indoors

It was raining yesterday so I stayed indoors

These two work without the "all day", but adding "all day" intensifies the feeling, the rain was occurring all day, no opportunity to go out.

It had been raining yesterday

Without the "all day" has a feeling of incompleteness, a sense that the rain stopped after some time. So adding "all day" strongly clarifies that there was rain for the entire day.

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