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A little bit of context:

Peter and Kevin were working on a mission together, and Peter had already planned (He was looking forward) to betray Kevin by the end of the mission. Kevin did not know Peter's intentions at the time but had suspicions that Peter was going to betray him.

And when it finally happened and Peter betrayed Kevin, Kevin then realized that he should have been more careful of Peter.*

Now, what would be appropriate tense to use in the moment after Kevin got betrayed?

Kevin: "Damn it, you had been looking forward to this moment!!" ("this moment" as in betraying him)

(The act of looking forward ended when Peter betrayed Kevin) so I think this tense would be the correct one.

or

Kevin: "Damn it, you have been looking forward to this moment!!"

I think the Past Perfect would be the correct tense since now the act of looking forward has already ended (He's been betrayed). It's now in the past, not an ongoing event. Therefore the present perfect is not appropriate because it is not an ongoing event.

I am not sure whether I am correct or not though.

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I agree with you. The Past Perfect is perfect for this example, as the looking forward to "this moment" cannot by definition be continuing at this moment, so it might have been something that Peter had been doing earlier on, even till a second ago.

We may still sometimes see the Present Perfect used for this, which is technically incorrect.

As stated in English Club,

We often use the Present Perfect to talk about a continuing situation. This is a state that started in the past and continues in the present (and will probably continue into the future).

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  • Why is using Present Perfect technically incorrect? Moreover, I would suggest adding must into the sentence as Kevin is guessing. "Damn, you must've been looking forward to this moment!" - here we are using Present Perfect to show an important result of an action: he was looking forward to betray Kevin -> he betrayed Kevin. Doesn't seem wrong to me. Please see this page Jun 9, 2020 at 7:05
  • In your reference, it says "for something that started in the past and continues in the present:" "Looking forward" to this moment must be in the past (as it is looking forward), so is not continuing in the present. Jun 9, 2020 at 7:19
  • I am pretty sure that this is not the only thing mentioned in the page. Jun 9, 2020 at 7:21
  • the act of looking forward ended when Peter Betrayed Kevin. He was looking forward to betray Kevin. He has already done so, it is now in the past. Why can't we use the Past Perfect? "You had been looking forward to this moment" as in, you had been looking forward to this moment before you betrayed me –
    – Sound
    Jun 9, 2020 at 7:46
  • Also, in the picture you showed "I've lost my keys" That's something that's continuing in the present, I don't have my keys NOW.
    – Sound
    Jun 9, 2020 at 8:00

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