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Which tense should I use in the following example?

Is it OK to use the Past Perfect Continuous if I want to explain to someone that I had been working in some company for 10 years, without mentioning - before I finally quit, or maybe I should use the Past Perfect - I had worked in that company for 10 years… but also without mentioning - before I moved to… ???

Thanks!

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This resource states, "The past perfect continuous tense is like the past perfect tense, but it expresses longer actions in the past before another action in the past" (emphasis mine.) Therefore, if you do not mention "another action in the past," you should not use the past perfect continuous.

The same resource states: "The past perfect tense expresses action in the past before another action in the past." Therefore, you should not use the past perfect if you do not mention the other action in the past.

Without knowing the context, I would recommend the simple past as follows: "I worked for the company for 10 years."

  • +1 Thank you for explanation. I thought that I could use Past Perfect Continuous or Past Perfect without saying the second part of the sentence (the "another action in the past") if it’s understandable from the context – james dean Feb 10 '14 at 12:10
  • We would need to see the context to know which tense is appropriate. – Peter Shor Feb 10 '14 at 18:26
  • OK, here’s my point! I’ve been working in a company for almost 10 years. My plan for the future is to move to another country seeking for a new job. I would like to explain to my potential employers that I have a 10 year experience in my vocation. – james dean Feb 11 '14 at 9:42
  • If you reference the other action you are fine. Example paragraph: "I am very interested in joining your haggis company. I had been working in haggis-making for ten years before I spent the last two years as a kilt maker." You could reference what you have done in the more recent past, and then the past perfect continuous would make sense. Still, I would not use the more complex tense, because the helping verbs seem to water down the message. "I worked in haggis-making for ten years before spending the last two years as a kilt maker." – M. K. Hunter Feb 11 '14 at 12:55
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You haven't given us enough context to tell you whether the sentence is ungrammatical. The past perfect isn't grammatical unless it comes before another action in the past. But the other action doesn't have to be in the same sentence.

So in the following sentences , the use of the past perfect is grammatical:

In 2006, I decided that I was unsatisfied with my career and quit my job. I had been working in the button industry for ten years. Since then, I have …

However, in the following sentences, the use of the past perfect is not grammatical:

I am looking for a job. I had been working in the button industry for ten years. I am an expert button inspector.

  • Thank you for explanation, but I’m afraid that was not what I was asking about. I’m sorry I wasn’t clear enough. I’m aware of the rule that I should use The Past Perfect for something that happened before another action in the past as for the Past Perfect Continuous for something that started in the past and continued up until another time in the past. I just wanted to know If I can use these tenses without saying the second part of the sentence (another action/time in the past) (In the case of informal conversation, not written correspondence). – james dean Feb 11 '14 at 14:33
  • Actually, I want to be as concise as possible and I don’t want to mention that I have quit… or any other reason. I just want to emphasize the fact that I have 10 year working experience. – james dean Feb 11 '14 at 14:33
  • I worked for X company for ten years. – Peter Shor Feb 11 '14 at 15:22

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