1. I waited for an hour before he appeared
  2. I had waited for an hour before he appeared
  3. I had waited for an hour when he appeared

These all are correct ? Further, these all share same meaning ?

1 Answer 1


Yes, they all mean the same thing, but when you use " before" in the sentence the use of the past perfect is optional, because the word "before" makes it clear what happened first. This is not the case when "when" is used. It is also possible to use the past perfect progressive in sentences 2 and 3: " I had been waiting...".

  • because the word "before" makes it clear what happened first - How does it make the usage of Past Perfect optional then? To me, using for an hour and before, emphasizes that I had completed waiting before he appeared.
    – user107943
    Feb 4, 2020 at 17:14
  • "For an hour" in combination with past perfect to me doesn't mean completion, but duration.
    – anouk
    Feb 4, 2020 at 18:27
  • But "...for an hour before..." implies both completion and duration because afterwards "he appeared".
    – user107943
    Feb 4, 2020 at 18:40
  • From Collins dictionary (grammar.collinsdictionary.com/easy-learning/…) - an action or state that began before another action in the past and continued up to the time of the second action and perhaps even beyond that time. Ashraf had already known my brother for two years when I met him.
    – user107943
    Feb 5, 2020 at 15:41
  • Yes, but "to know" is a stative verb. Stative verbs are not used in a continuous tense.
    – anouk
    Feb 5, 2020 at 16:22

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