We 'lived' / 'had been living' in Athens.

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I have a multiple choice question. It says:

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We ______ (live) in Athens for 10 years before we moved to Thessaloniki.
Key>lived Why not have been living?
Is live a stative verb?

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Thanks
 
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  • mgcrules

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    "We have been living" is what you say when you still live there.
    If you no longer live there, you say "We lived in Athens..." or "We had been living in Athens..."
     

    caley

    New Member
    Chinese-English
    in my opinion, the best answer is "had lived" because "moved to " here refer to a moment in the past and that is a transient verb. The action "live" is before "move", so "had lived" is the best answer. however, "lived" can also be used here because this action happened in the past.
     

    camntx

    New Member
    American English
    I agree with caley. I think both "lived" and "had lived" sound appropriate in that context, although I'd naturally use the former (lived).
     
    I am sorry. I don't know if this was my fault or the admin's fault but the 2 options were had lived/ had been living and not have been living.
    You can also see that on the title. So again the multiple choice answer is had lived?
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I am sorry. I don't know if this was my fault or the admin's fault but the 2 options were had lived/ had been living and not have been living.
    You can also see that on the title. So again the multiple choice answer is had lived?

    If these are the actual choices I'd say they were both right, which is unusual!
     
    Dear Suzi Br it is not unusual on the book I am teaching :) The majority of the posts I 've made here have grammar phenomena that both answers sound good to native speakers that answer. So the result is: I am not going to teach this book next year :)
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I agree that both alternatives are right.
    They are not completely equivalent, but it is not so easy to say why! I think it's a matter of emphasis.

    Correction. They are the same. I was thinking of the difference between "we lived" and "we had been living".
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    If I had to choose between "had lived" and "had been living" I would choose "had lived" for this sentence because of the preposition before. Compare:

    "We had been living there for 10 years when we moved to..."
    "We had lived there for 10 years before we moved to..."

    The preposition before puts the clause clearly in the past, rather than having a direct connection with the moment of moving as when you use when. It's a subtle difference perhaps, and certainly a challenging question, but that's why the answer is "had lived" rather than "had been living".
     

    EStjarn

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Why not have been living?
    I agree with liliput that, in the topic sentence, past continuous tense would work with when but not with before. When simple past tense and past continuous tense are used together, the simple past tense describes an action that interrupts an ongoing (past continuous) activity (Collins dictionary, 2007). When we use before, there is no interruption. Instead, the before-clause qualifies the independent clause:

    We had lived in Athens for 10 years before we moved to Thessaloniki.
    We had lived in Athens for 10 years before moving to Thessaloniki.
    Before moving to Thessaloniki, we had lived in Athens for 10 years.
    Before, we had lived in Athens for 10 years.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    If I had to choose between "had lived" and "had been living" I would choose "had lived" for this sentence because of the preposition before. Compare:

    "We had been living there for 10 years when we moved to..."
    "We had lived there for 10 years before we moved to..."

    The preposition before puts the clause clearly in the past, rather than having a direct connection with the moment of moving as when you use when. It's a subtle difference perhaps, and certainly a challenging question, but that's why the answer is "had lived" rather than "had been living".

    I agree with this, and no doubt this is the "right" answer, but no native speaker would recoil in horror at the option of saying "we lived there before we moved here" because there is a pretty simple sequence.
    Also the important bits in terms of communication are either the time (10 years) or the place (Athens) and choice of tense doesn't add anything that isn't obvious in either variant.
     
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