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"I went to my cousin's room and I slept on the couch there for 50 minutes and then my aunt woke me up"
or
"I went to my cousin's room and I had been sleeping on the couch there for 50 minutes and then my aunt woke me up"

Which is correct and why and is the tense used here correct?

2 Answers 2

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Both sentences are grammatically correct but they are very long. I'd suggest using "when" instead of "and then" to join the last two clauses.

Two sentences:

I went to my cousin's room and slept on the couch [there]. I'd been sleeping for 50 minutes when my aunt woke me up.

The Past Perfect Continuous is used appropriately because the act of sleeping was ongoing/in progress before being woken up.

To make the sentence shorter you can replace "and" with a comma, as suggested by @Stefan, and omit the subject pronoun implicit in the second clause.

One sentence:

I went to my cousin's room, slept on the couch for 50 minutes then my aunt woke me up.

The Past Simple is appropriate because the sequence of events is clear: (1) he/she went into the cousin's room (2) slept (3) was woken up by their aunt.

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    I disagree that both are correct. Had been sleeping requires when my aunt woke me. Jan 21 at 13:51
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    @KateBunting I think you're right. I've modified my answer.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 21 at 14:50
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    Or "I had been sleeping on the couch in my cousin's room for 50 minutes when my aunt woke me up" or "My aunt woke me up after I had been sleeping on the couch in my cousin's room for 50 minutes." In your one sentence re-write, there should be a comma after "50 minutes", and I think "until" works better than "then", to more strongly convey that action was interrupted. Jan 21 at 19:54
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    @Acccumulation Yes, all valid suggestions because there's more than one way to skin a cat; however, I preferred to keep as close as possible to the original.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 21 at 20:26
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    @KateBunting - They're both structurally/gramatically correct, but convey different meanings. The "I slept [x minutes] ... and then my aunt woke me up" version suggests that the sleep was completed independently of the aunt coming in to perform the wake-up. While the "I had been sleeping [x minutes] ... and then my aunt woke me up" version suggests that the sleep was still in progress and would have continued if not for the aunt coming to perform the wake-up. I'd assume the latter is the intended meaning. Any yes, when works much better there.
    – aroth
    Jan 22 at 3:25
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I went to my cousin's room and I slept on the couch there for 50 minutes and then my aunt woke me up

That's ok. A sequence of actions, so you can use simple past. Replacing the "and I" by a comma would make it sound better.

I went to my cousin's room and I had been sleeping on the couch there for 50 minutes and then my aunt woke me up

"And then" sound strange in this sentence because "had been sleeping" does not describe a completed action but your state at a certain point in time. The reader expects to read what point in time you are referring to, e.g. "when my aunt woke me up". By writing "and then my aunt woke me up", the "had been sleeping" is left hanging in the air, at least to my ears.

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