In these following sentences, which one is grammatically correct?

  1. They were playing football since 10 o'clock.

  2. They had been playing football since 10 o'clock.

According to this reference link:

Past Perfect Continuous Tense is used to express a continued or ongoing action that started in past and is continued until sometime in past. There will always a time reference like – for a few days, for ten months, for 2 years, since Wednesday, since 2011, since January etc. If there is no time reference, then it is not a Past perfect continuous tense. Without time reference, it is Past Continuous Tense.

But I saw the following example, which has used with time reference.


So, I am confused between past continuous and past perfect continuous. Please someone help me.

Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    The highlighted sentence is from where? It's wrong.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 17:25

1 Answer 1


I think the sentence is wrong, it should either be "they had been playing football since 10 o'clock, meaning they started at ten and continued until a later time, or "they were playing football at ten" meaning at ten they were in the middle of the game. I think it is a mistake because the other sentences are all examples of the past perfect continuous.


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