As a way to improve my grammar, I've been reading New York Times articles, focusing particularly on verb tenses. Here is one section of an article I found of interest:
Mr. Wilansky, who spoke by telephone and checked details with his daughter as he did, said the explosion had taken place around 4 a.m. Monday, when most of the protesters were gathered around a bonfire near the foot of the bridge.
Is my analysis correct?
Had taken place is used because the explosion had occurred before he spoke by telephone. Because the protesters gathered first and then the explosion occurred, the infinitive, to be, takes the simple past not the past perfect.
had been taking place would mean that a series of explosions had been occurring at least around 4 a.m. but possibly up until the phone call
was taking place would mean that the explosion was happening as he spoke on the phone around 4 a.m. OR, had this report been issued before 4 a.m. Monday, that the explosion was going to be happening around 4 a.m., but it won't anymore.
took place would mean he spoke by phone at the same time the explosion happened around 4 a.m.
Using the present perfect wouldn't make any sense
Sorry for the length...