past cont - he was eating when I arrived
past perfect cont - he had been eating when i arrived
in both cases the even started and continued when the second event happened.so how to distinguish when to use which ?
Also,isnt HAD BEEN past progressive and not past perfect?
Not quite - your 2nd statement (he had been eating
) isn't quite correct grammatically. Basically, the difference is that past progressive tense refers to 2 actions happening at the same time
, while past perfect progressive tense refers to 1 action happening before
the other one. Here are some examples:
1) I was sad when my pet hamster died.
2) I had been sad until I got a new pet hamster.
1) "Sad" and "pet hamster died" happened at the same time.
2) "Sad" happened before "I got a new pet hamster".
Hope this makes sense.