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If I say "someone has been reading a book for a while" it implies that he is still reading the book. Now if I say that person has read the book it means that he has already finished reading it.

But if I wanted to join two clauses in one sentence, what would be the correct way to say that he was doing it for for example two hours and that he has just finished reading it? My guess is one of these:

  • My friend was reading a book for two hours; he has finally finished it.
  • My friend had been reading a book for two hours; he has finally finished it.

Is either of these correct? Or what is the correct way to say it?

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    The first (as edited) would be more idiomatically 'My friend has been reading a book for two hours; he has finally finished it' or 'My friend was reading a book for two hours; he finally finished it.'. And the second mismatches past perfect continuous with present perfect. // 'My friend's just finished the book [that] he's been reading for the last two hours.' Apr 1 '20 at 16:26
  • Thanks, Edwin Ashworth! It's very helpful! I've noticed that you had replaced "get through" with "finished". Was it absolutely wrong or did it just sound unnatural for native speaker? Apr 1 '20 at 18:33
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    'Get through' implies a long, hard slog ... not just two hours. Apr 2 '20 at 13:33
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If I say "Someone has been reading a book for a while," [comma] it means that he has already finished reading it. But if I wanted to join two clauses in one sentence, [comma] what would be the correct way to say that he was doing it for, [comma] for example, [comma] two hours, [comma] and that he has just finished reading it? My guess is one of these:

My friend was reading a book for two hours, and he has finally got through it. My friend had been reading a book for two hours, and he has finally got through it.

Are any of these correct? Or what is the correct way to say it?


They're both fine as long as you remember to use and, or, or but in compound sentences.

You can also say: My friend read a book for two hours and finally got through it.

Are you studying American or British English? In your two examples, an American would usually say gotten. In the U.S., got is the simple past tense—he got finished—but gotten is the prefect tense form.

Always start sentences with capitals. And at some point you might want to reveiw how commas are used.

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  • Visitors are required to ask one question at a time. Correcting whole swathes of errors sets wrong precedents. If a single basic question cannot be identified, and the question edited to correct other problems, the question should be close-voted as 'proofreading' or 'lacking clarity'. As it is , this sort of question has been addressed on ELU before. And answers without supporting references are not what are required. Apr 1 '20 at 16:32
  • Charlie, thanks a lot for such an informative answer! That's really valuable to me. I study American English and that "gotten" instead of "got" was really eyeopening for me. Apr 1 '20 at 18:24

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