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So, I am trying to help my friend with his novel. It is completely written using the past tense. I need help from you to check if the following sentence is correct.

As luck would have it, they all ended up getting jobs in the same city. Together, they rented a two-bedroom house and had been living there ever since.

I am trying to keep everything in the past. So, is it okay if I use past perfect continuous tense for the last part with 'ever since'?

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    Yes, it's fine.
    – Lambie
    Jul 12, 2022 at 18:42
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    It seems OK to me as long as you say, almost immediately, "Until that fateful day..." or "But then, after an argument, two of them moved out." The use of 'had' needs resolving quickly. What's the next line? Jul 12, 2022 at 18:42
  • @Faj If you have a single question about the English language, please get answers in the answer section. Please do not use the comment section as a writing clinic. Comments are for notes and questions about the question itself.
    – gotube
    Jul 13, 2022 at 16:42
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – gotube
    Jul 13, 2022 at 16:42
  • As for resolution, this sentence could be a segue to an episode of some kind (e.g. "until that fateful day" as suggested above) or the story could end on that line. What would be odd is a return to the time of the original house renting. Dec 19, 2023 at 13:32

2 Answers 2

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It doesn't read correctly. "Had been living there ever since" in isolation is fine, but the whole thing reads badly because the tenses don't match throughout.

Ideally, it should say:

As luck would have it, they had all got jobs in the same city. Together, they rented a two-bedroom house and had been living there ever since.

When you say that the whole novel is in the past tense, you still have to remember that the narrator is speaking as if they are in the present, recounting the past. When you say "they all ended up getting jobs in the city" it sounds like you are finishing up the anecdote and bringing the reader up the present, so it feels like you should be saying "they have been living there ever since", which would mean that they were still living there until now (the present).

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  • A, B, C and D had known each other since childhood. They went to the same school, and even though they attended different colleges, they remained thick friends. As luck would have it, they all ended up getting jobs in the same city after their graduation. Then they rented a two-bedroom house together and started their professional journey three years ago....I changed the para a little bit. How is it now??
    – Faj
    Jul 13, 2022 at 5:40
  • @Faj Great! Just two unrelated things to consider - 'thick friends' is a slightly outdated expression. I don't hear it much these days. 'Thick' can also mean stupid. 'Firm friends' is one alternative. Also, saying "three years ago" requires a date-stamp on the narrative. You might say when the events occurred, but unless you know what year the narrator is relating this from, "three years ago" means nothing. It's not wrong, just something to consider. What time period will the narrative cover? Will more than 3 years have passed by the end of the story?
    – Astralbee
    Jul 13, 2022 at 7:55
  • A, B, C and D had known each other since childhood. They went to the same school, and even though they attended different colleges, they remained firm friends. As luck would have it, they all ended up getting jobs in the same city after their graduation. Then they rented a two-bedroom house together and started their professional journey together.....what about this?? Thanks for your kind help, btw....
    – Faj
    Jul 13, 2022 at 8:15
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    @faj sounds good.
    – Astralbee
    Jul 13, 2022 at 8:20
  • What if I write the para in past perfect...for example, 'A, B, C and D had known each other since childhood. They had gone to the same school, and even though they had attended different colleges, they had remained firm friends. As luck would have it, they had all ended up getting jobs in the same city after their graduation. Then they had rented a two-bedroom house together and had started their professional journey together'... How does that sound?
    – Faj
    Jul 13, 2022 at 9:03
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OP writes:

I am trying to keep everything in the past. So, is it okay if I use past perfect continuous tense for the last part with 'ever since'? [my emphasis]

The past-perfect continuous had been living with ever since in that sentence is a kind of "fast-forward". It moves the temporal focus to a point-in-time subsequent to the rental of the apartment but still in the past.

P.S. If you had written "have been living there ever since" it would be a fast-forward to a fictional present. Time-shifts of various kinds are normal in fiction.

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