Alex was living in Japan for six years

sb70012

Senior Member
Azerbaijani/Persian
Hello,
I say to myself that "a person + was living in a place for three/four etc. years" is not grammatically correct structure. Do you agree with me?

I mean:

1. "a person + was living in a place for three/four etc. years" :cross:
2. "a person + had been living in a place for three/four etc. years":tick:
3. "a person + have been living in a place for three/four etc. years":tick:
4. "a person + lived in a place for three/four etc. years":tick:

I think we can not find a sentence which follows the structure number 1. Do you agree with me?

For example:

1. Alex was living in Japan for six years ...... (I can't think of a sentence starting like this.):cross:
2. Alex had been living in Japan for six years .... (this is possible):tick:
3. Alex has been living in Japan for six years ... (this is possible):tick:
4. Alex lived in Japan for six years ... (this is possible):tick:

So, structure number 1 can not be correct. Am I right?

Thank you.
 
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  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    No, structure 1 is also possible.

    Alex was living in Japan for six years so he decided to sell his car in the US. (Here the reference is to a planned action - Alex intended to live there for six years).
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    As Glasguensis says, 'was living' is possible when it means 'is going to', that is, it refers to the future. Here is is the future from the point of the past.

    I can find a few examples on the Internet in which 'was living' referring to the past seems correct.
    "I was living in a cardboard box for 10 years," said Freeman, 63, who now works at the mission as an assistant chaplain.
    Most frequently, it seems to work in a summary of the places someone has lived.

    However, in most sentences, I would prefer 'lived' or 'had been living'. I think it would be wise for a learner to avoid the construction "living for ...."
     

    gazrj01

    Senior Member
    English - Australian
    Alex was living in Japan for six years, leading a relatively normal life, while all of the time his disease was developing slowly, gradually eating him up from the inside.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Alex was living in Japan for six years before he applied for citizenship.

    This could be said using some of the other phrases.
     
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