She had been in labour for over 24 hours. They wheeled her off to the operating theatre, where she gave birth by caesarian to a healthy baby boy.

I found this sentence in an answer to this question: “Was in labour for 3 hours” versus “had been in labour for 3 hours”.

I would like to know the exact meaning of this sentence. Does it mean that she was still in labour when they wheeled her off or was the labour finished when they wheeled her off?

I think that the "wheeling " is not included in the 24 hours of labour . It was after this time that they wheeled her off . In this case the events are in order so past pefect is not mandatory and past simple could do it . Am I right?

1 Answer 1


Surely common sense tells you that labour lasts until the child is born. When the decision to operate was made, the woman had already been in labour for 24 hours.

You could say "She was in labour for 24 hours before they wheeled her off to the operating theatre..." if you were simply stating the sequence of events rather than implying the reason for the decision.

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