The following sentence is given (M. Swan - Practical English Usage):

It's been a good time while it's lasted.

I can't get the point of the sentence. Why can we use the present perfect in the subordiante clause at all? I thought the past progiressive more suitable.

It's been a good time while it was lasting.

  • Even clear is - It's been a good time till the end!
    – Maulik V
    Commented Oct 9, 2014 at 5:40
  • @MaulikV The thing is the verb last have a similiar meaning as go on in the point of translating to my native language. I can't bound it with an idea of completion (i.e. the perfect aspect). Could you clarify? Commented Oct 9, 2014 at 6:19
  • In American English you'll find this idea expressed exactly as user3169 has given it. The example from Swan is something you might hear at Downton Abbey. If there is a nuanced difference between them, it is that the Downton fellow is feeling rueful about the passing of the good time even as it begins to fade away. It isn't gone yet, but in the very near future it will be a thing of the past.
    – TimR
    Commented Oct 9, 2014 at 12:44

1 Answer 1


I have no idea how they came up with that example.

I would say:

It was a good time while it lasted.

using simple past tense. The time span in the past is implied without making it more complicated.

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