1

If an action started in the past and lasted for some time, which tense should be used Past Simple or Past Perfect Continuous? For example, I worked out for two hours yesterday or I had been working out for two hours yesterday?

closed as off-topic by tchrist, anongoodnurse, Edwin Ashworth, Jim, user66974 Jun 15 '14 at 6:57

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. A list of these references can be found here: List of general references" – anongoodnurse, Edwin Ashworth, Community
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1

This depends on context. The most common occasions for speaking of your workout with the four past tense+aspect constructions are:

  • If you are narrating past events in sequence, of which your workout was one, use the simple past.

    I worked out for two hours yesterday, then went home and showered.

  • If you are narrating past events and your workout was the temporal 'background' within which some event occurred, use the past progressive.

    I was working out for two hours yesterday, during which my house was robbed.

  • If you are narrating past events and 'cutting away' to mention your prior workout as the origin of some then-current state, use the past perfect.

    I had worked out for two hours yesterday, and needed to go home and shower before I returned to the laboratory.

  • If that prior workout continued right up to the time of which you are speaking, you may prefer to employ the past perfect progressive.

    I had been working out for two hours yesterday when I was suddenly called to the telephone.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.