He (smoke) for two hours nonstop.

Vronsky

Senior Member
Russian - Russia
Hi,
Imagine a situation. An unconscious man is lying on a therapy bed in the hospital.
Person A: "What happened? Why is he unconscious?"
Person B: "He (smoke) for two hours nonstop."
1. smoked
2. was smoking
3. has been smoking
4. had been smoking​
Could you tell me which one is correct?
Thanks.
 
  • DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    They're all grammatically correct: option (1) I would say sounds the least likely.

    Both (2) and (3) would work, and possibly even (4) - but it depends at what point he stopped smoking and on what happened then. That sentence is a little bit odd just as it stands.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Grammatically, I would say that 1, 2 and 4 are fine. I wouldn't use 3 because you have "has been smoking" and he's now unconscious and unsmoking – with "has been smoking," I would expect him to still be smoking.

    But looking at the wording of the question, I would say only 2.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I thought it up by myself :) What's wrong with it?
    The problem is that chain-smoking for two hours nonstop doesn't normally render a person unconscious.

    So for him to be lying unconscious on a hospital bed, the logical assumption is that something else must have happened to him in the meantime. And depending on what that was and when it occurred, it will affect which tense you need to use. :)
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top