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Senior Member

1- When + past perfect, simple past

-When the teacher had come in the class, we as a whole class stood up.

2- While + past perfect cont., simple past

-While we had been having the picnic, it started to rain.

I gather the first sentence is OK, but not sure about the second one. Can you please check the two?

Thank you.
  • The second is grammatical, but awkward, in my opinion. There seems to be no reason for the past perf.

    More common (past cont.): "While we were having the picnic, it started to rain."

    The "while" generally does not seem to go with past perf continuous and not well with most past perfs.; like oil and water. ADDED. If the past perf could be an extended event, maybe this works?" "While the rich kids had been attending university in the late 1960s, the rich kids were (or, 'had been') going off to war.

    "While", so to say, generally prefers the simple past "While we went to the game, the kids stayed home. or past continuous, "While we were cheering at the game, our child at home was getting a fever."
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    UK English
    The first sentence is strange, though grammatical. We normally used the past simple: When the teacher came into the room, everyone in the class stood up.
    When here means as soon as. After the teacher had come into the room is also grammatically possible, but teacher came is normal.
    Do you realy mean that the class only stood up after the teacher entered the room?

    The second sentence is also unlikely, though grammatical. Bennymix's version is normal.
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