0

Assumption: Samantha is not living in Berlin anymore. (Wasn't mentioned)
Fact: The Berlin wall came down in the year 1989.

  1. 'Samantha lived in Berlin for more than two years. In fact, she was living there when the Berlin wall came down.'
  2. 'Samantha has lived in Berlin for more than two years. In fact, she was living there when the Berlin wall came down.'

Questions:

  1. It is stated on the site where I came across this sentence that the former sentence is correct; however, as we don't know the specific time interval when Samantha was living in Berlin, shouldn't we use the present perfect tense?
  2. Which sentence is correct, or are they both correct? If both, then which is 'more correct' (or more commonly used)
  3. Also, without the assumption mentioned above, shouldn't we use the present perfect progressive tense, as we don't know if Samantha is still living in Berlin?
0

Without the assumption (or, even better, facts) I wouldn't use either sentence.

Unless you do know that she is still living in Berlin, the first sentence is arguably more common—but only because, after twenty-eight years, it's more likely that she's left Berlin than remained.

From a purely grammatical perspective, neither is right nor wrong—but, from a practical perspective, neither should be stated without sure knowledge.

Even the first, although technically correct, has some semantic difficulty unless it's assumed or known that she left at some point.

If you really don't know if she's still there or not, and you want to write a sentence that is the most accurate (regardless of her current living arrangement), I would suggest something simple like this:

Samantha had been living in Berlin when the Berlin wall came down.

It doesn't make any assumptions at all, and it's perfect correct no matter what the current facts are. (Assuming that it, itself, is a true statement.)


As noted in a comment (and caught by me in a revision) the information about Samantha having lived in Berlin for over two years doesn't indicate when those two years took place. (In other words, how long she'd been there when the wall came down.) So, I removed that from my simplified sentence.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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