I was very tired because <I worked/ I had been working/ I had worked> until 1 am

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Blackmirtl

Senior Member
russian
I have 3 variants, and I'd like to understand what the differences between them. Tell me, which one would you choose, in colloquial speech for instance

- I was very tired because I worked until 1 am
- I was very tired because I'd been working till 1 am
- I was very tired because I had worked till 1 am
 
  • panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    - I was very tired because I worked until 1 am
    Perhaps this is possible, but it sounds a little odd to me, with both verbs in the same tense.

    - I was very tired because I'd been working till 1 am
    - I was very tired because I had worked till 1 am
    Both of these are OK. I don't think there is any difference between them.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Like Panj. I don't like the first much. After all when were you very tired?

    If it was at 1 am that you were very tired, then you'd be more likely to say I was very tired because I'd been working till 1 am (2).

    If it was the following morning, you'd be more likely to say I was very tired because I'd worked till 1 am (3).

    There's the difference between (2) and (3), in my view. I don't agree with Panj. that they are always appropriate to the same circumstances. Though you might use (3) if you were tired at 1 am, I don't think you would very naturally use (2) the following morning.

    It goes without saying that you will hear native speakers being lazy or careless with this sort of form, and people don't always correct themselves given the natural spontaneity of much spoken language.
     
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