I was reading a novel when I saw this sentence:

It's just a guess but, when you were still living with your mother, you had been interfering in her life a lot, right?

Are the verbs here (i.e. "were still living" & "had been interfering") used in the correct tenses respectively (past continuous & past perfect continuous), or do they need changing?

Thanks for your opinions!

  • Why do you find those questionable? What would you have yourself written instead there?
    – tchrist
    Dec 25, 2020 at 1:13
  • I would have written both in the same tense (i.e. both past perfect/both past continuous)
    – Thuan Khang
    Dec 25, 2020 at 2:21
  • Funny thing but I would prefer: were still living and were interfering.
    – Lambie
    Oct 14, 2022 at 18:54

1 Answer 1


Yes. They are both past tense (even though the former is indicative and the latter is perfect). English has only one past tense, unlike other languages such as Spanish which have Preterite and Imperfect. The tenses match.

  • Usually it's the had been part that confuses folks who have just seen a were and wonder why the were didn't get continued but changed to had been. But we don't know for sure because the asker has not returned to give details.
    – tchrist
    Dec 25, 2020 at 2:01
  • Yes, I want to ask about that
    – Thuan Khang
    Dec 25, 2020 at 2:21

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