If two events followed one after the other, I would use the Perfect Continuous:

  • Finally we found the path we had been looking for.

But, if some time have passed after the first event, I could use the following sentences, right?:

  • Finally we found the path we looked for.
  • Finally we found the path we were looking for.

However, I don't quite understand what context should be for each sentence? Could you tell me what would make you choose one or the other sentence?

1 Answer 1


The first and third mean the same thing. You were looking for the path when you found it; you had been looking for it for twenty minutes The use of the past perfect continuous just emphasises the fact that the search had lasted for some time.

The use of the simple past tense isn't idiomatic here, as the search was ongoing. You could say "We looked for the path and eventually found it."

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