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This question already has an answer here:

Do these two sentences mean the same?

  1. When I arrived, Lisa was waiting for me.
  2. When I arrived, Lisa had been waiting for me.

marked as duplicate by Glorfindel, Nathan Tuggy, Peter, ColleenV, Em. Aug 5 '16 at 23:23

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    Duplicate of many; one is here. – P. E. Dant Aug 5 '16 at 19:19
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It is not exactly the same because they are two differents tenses but they are very similar though (sometimes sentences with these tenses are interchangeable). In the first sentence you have Past Continuous and this tense puts emphasis on the course of an action in the past. For example: Manuel was playing football.

In your case is Past Continuous with an action happening on at a certain time in the past.

On the other hand, the Past Perfect Continuous puts emphasis on the course or duration of an action taking place before a certain time in the past.

The second sentence is like the past perfect itself because it is an action that takes place before a certain time in the past, I mean, Lisa had been waiting for you when you arrived. That stands for the duration of the action.

  • The perfect in its many forms is very complex, and the shades of meaning are subtle. There is an excellent source here which new English learners should study closely. – P. E. Dant Aug 5 '16 at 19:36

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