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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > past continuous    

past continuous


past continuous
hello everyone!
I �ve got a question. The following sentence appears in a book: 

"When I was going to school I loved Geography"

The author also provides the sentence in the Simple Past:

"When I went to school I loved Geography"

and asks the students to discuss the difference in meaning.
First of all, I wouldn �t personally use the Past Continuous in this sentence, so I �d like your opinion: is the first sentence grammatically correct or not?
Second, assuming it is correct, what if any is the difference in meaning?

This is a book provided by the state in Greek schools and one of the worst I �ve ever come across and I don �t trust it a bit. I generally tend to skip this task (as well as most others) and give my own material. Giving the author the benefit of a doubt, however, I thought I �d ask your opinion!

6 Dec 2010      


when I was going sounds more like while I was on my way there...

6 Dec 2010     


I agree with Anita...I �ve never seen the Past Continuous used in this way.

P.S.: Is that the same "Tsiknothursday" book?Wink

6 Dec 2010     


Which one�s the Tsiknothursday book? Probably this one, but I tend to skip a lot of stuff, so I may have missed this!
It �s the book taught at 3rd grade Junior High. 
The author is also a native speaker, hence the benefit of the doubt.

6 Dec 2010     


I don �t remember which one exactly it is...I think it �s the 2nd grade Junior High...It had a reference to "Tsiknothursday" (exactly like this!!!)...The people at the Pedagogical Institute have worked their magic again, right?
Let �s not forget Fun Way is still around in Primary Education ...

Don �t you just looooove the way the state supports English teaching in schools???

6 Dec 2010     

United States

Both are correct grammatically, and have a slight difference in connotation. The continuous tenses emphasize a process over time. The first sentence is making a point that I was in school for a few years, and that time was important. The simple past is just a report of something that happened in the past.
Personally, I wouldn �t use either sentence, because they sound a little like the trip to school (as anitarobi said), rather than being in school. I would say "When I was in school...".
That �s how I see it.

6 Dec 2010     

[email protected]
United Kingdom

Bruce is right - both are correct, mostly interchangeable, but the former can be used to emphasise duration.

BTW, we would prefer � When I was at school � in Br Eng.


6 Dec 2010     


thanks for your answers!

So according to you it �s possible to say it, though not very good style. 
As for me, I �ll go on skipping this exercise, because my students are in no position to spot the difference in connotation! Besides I don �t see how this example will help them understand when to use the Simple Past and when to use the Past Continuous...

Have a nice day,everyone! Smile

7 Dec 2010