There is the sentence from an Android English studying app:

The meeting had been over by five o'clock.

But I was told that this sentence is wrong. The correct sentences are

  • The meeting had finished by five o’clock.
  • The meeting was over by five o'clock.

So I can't understand why we can't just replace "finished" with "been over" in the sentence "The meeting had finished by five o’clock"?

  • 2
    I would expect had been over to be followed by a time period rather than an exact time - "The meeting had been over for an hour when..." Dec 7, 2021 at 10:01
  • Thank you. So, "The meeting had been over by five o'clock." is completly incorrect, right? I would like to clarify: is the part "meeting had been over" considered here 1. as the passive part "meeting had been" (as in sentence "The work had been finished ...") + adjective "over", 2. or as the active part "meeting had"(as in sentence "The meeting had finished ...") + composite verb "been over" ?
    – Inversus
    Dec 8, 2021 at 13:42
  • It's incorrect as a statement on its own. It could be part of a longer sentence, such as "If the meeting had been over by five o'clock I would probably have managed to catch the bus". Dec 8, 2021 at 15:56


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