I have stumbled upon this sentence:

  • When I met Jane she had been dating Tom for six months.

Does it mean that she was still doing that after our meeting or she had stopped before that?

2 Answers 2


I don't think it means obligatory that she stopped dating Tom, it is a possibility but it is not sure , it just says that jane began dating Tom six months earlier


The present perfect continuous tense, indicates that an action began in the past and continued up to the present.

The past perfect continuous tense, indicates that something began in the past, continued in the past, and also ended at a defined point in the past.

Although past perfect continuous tense is usually used for something that has ended in past, I can't be sure of that in your sentence:

"When I met Jane she had been dating Tom for six months."

It's just one of the probabilities that, when you met Jane, she had stopped dating Tom. It can also mean that she's continuing it. It's better to ask that to Jane herself.; )

You can find more details here

  • I agree with Yves, that it doesn't necessarily mean that the continuing action has stopped. I know the link which you supply says so, but it also gives as one of the examples Cathy had been playing the piano for 35 years when she was finally asked to do a solo with the local orchestra. That doesn't mean that Cathy had stopped playing the piano! Dec 30, 2020 at 9:40
  • Yeah can also mean that.
    – lee
    Dec 30, 2020 at 10:25

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