Past Perfect Continuous em exercício

Could somebody help me with this question?

Put the verb into the most appropriate form, past continuous (I was doing), past perfect (I had done), or past perfect continuous (I had been doing)

1. When I arrived, everybody was sitting arround the table and talking. Their mouths were empty, but their stomachs were full. They...(eat).

I answered "They had eaten", but the right answer is "They had been eating. I would like to know why. I think that is because the act of eat was recently in the sentence, but I'm not sure. Thank you all for the supporting.

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1 resposta
Ricardo F. Bernardi 3 27 417
Hey there, Mr. GOMES

The website English Grammar Exercises is great. It is a perfect opportunity to review some concepts about English grammar, especially Past Continuous and Past Perfect Continuous in this case.

Let's check these two sentences:

1) When I arrived, everybody was sitting round the table with their mouths full. They were eating.

The Past Continuous Tense, also known as Past Progressive Tense, was used because they were still eating at the moment the other action(s) started to happen.

2) When I arrived, everybody was sitting round the table and talking. Their mouths were empty, but their stomachs were full. They had been eating.

The Past Perfect Continuous Tense, also known as Past Perfect Progressive Tense, was used because the mentioned action was finished just before the other action happened. In other words, since their stomachs were full, we're pretty sure they had finished eating before you arrived.

I hope it helps. :)
Enjoy your studies!