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  1. By the time I arrived at the scene, the meeting had been over.

  2. When I arrived at the scene, the meeting had been over.

Are the two sentences correct?

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    Why did you use "the meeting had been over" rather than "the meeting was over"?
    – KillingTime
    Commented Feb 8 at 15:16
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    You need a time gap marker (and this will usually be fairly large in context) to make this acceptable: << By the time / When I arrived at the scene, the meeting had been over for hours / ages / some considerable time. >> If you don't wish to specify this, the correct time construction is past simple, as KillingTime indicates. Commented Feb 8 at 15:55
  • Do you mean when I use "has/had been over", I have to use a period of time at the end of both sentences?
    – Ben Yao
    Commented Feb 8 at 16:40
  • Welcome! We need more for this question to be answerable. Many things are "correct" but might not be what you want. Please use the "edit" button below the question to tell more about the meaning you want, as well as what you've already found out about the phrase "by the time." Try not to be distracted by the "had been over" part if it has nothing to do with your main question, or if it does, tell more about that too. Commented Feb 8 at 16:46
  • Yes. As they stand, they are ungrammatical. 'When I arrived at the scene, the meeting had finished.' shows an acceptable and typical pairing of [in the past] and [further in the past] (past simple tense + past perfect construction). Commented Feb 8 at 17:12

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