Once I've watched a video when reporter said to sportsman who hadn't been participating for 2 years, "I was talking about you for 2 years".

Does the reporter use the tense correctly? As far as I understand, there needs to be Past Perfect Contnuous instead of Past Continuous. Am I right?

  • Welcome to the ELL Coder4fun! It's best here to only ask one question at a time. If you also want to ask about present perfect, you can ask in a separate question. I've edited your second question out.
    – gotube
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 3:00
  • 1
    The reporter should have said, "I have been talking about you for two years*."
    – gotube
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 3:15
  • @gotube thank you. I want to clarify one more thing: can I say "hadn't been participating for 2 years"? He stopped participating at some point of time in the past, then started to participate again, so as far as I understand it's the case for Past Perfect Contnuous, isn't it?
    – Coder4Fun
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 10:17
  • The grammar is good. "... hadn't been playing..." is more natural
    – gotube
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 14:48

1 Answer 1


I can imagine a situation where the reporter could say:

I was talking about you for 2 years, when you decided to show up again.

Certainly, many would argue that the correct tense would be I had been talking, but in spoken language, you will come across such uses. If the focus is the present moment, however, the reporter should have said:

I have been talking about you for 2 years, and here you are again.

  • I think it's a myth that you cannot use the past tense (including past continuous) along with "for x years".
    – listeneva
    Commented Jul 14, 2021 at 10:45
  • @listeneva You can't blame learners (of which I am one) for being afraid to break a tradition cultivated so much by textbooks and ESL teachers. But when you live long enough in an English speaking country (like myself in the UK), you realise it is not so fixed and you "contract" the native speaker's freedom in using "exceptions to the rule" correctly.
    – fev
    Commented Jul 14, 2021 at 11:02

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