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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Past Simple/Continous Question    

Past Simple/Continous Question


As another native speaker,  I totally agree with Bruce. Smile

1 Nov 2014     

Wise Kaa
Russian Federation

Hello, everyone!

I totally agree to most of what has been said here, but why don ´t you take to consideration a situation when both actions were regular and habitual in the past. "I met my neighbour every time while walking down the street." If so, the Past Simple in both cases whoud appear appropriate. Please, comment, as I am not a native speaker either and can be mistaken.


1 Nov 2014     

United Kingdom

I agree with the others, for the reasons they state. You need a past continuous here because an ongoing action is interrupted by a one-off action. English is funny though and people are just as likely to say, ´I met my neighbour as I walked down the street. ´
Wise Kaa, in your sentence I think you should say ´Every time I walked down the street, I met my neighbour. ´ In English, btw, in that situation, we would use ´bump into to ´ rather than ´meet ´. 

2 Nov 2014     

United States

Yes, Wise Kaa, I agree with Lynne. "While walking" implies one time, so "every time" doesn ´t work well with it.

2 Nov 2014     


Actually Cunliffe has touched a point that I have always found funny. How can we explain the reason of using the past simple after as in the sentence"I met my neighbour as I walked down the street"?

2 Nov 2014     

United States

Dear Ruwayda37, I think Bruce summed it up when he said,

"Use simple past twice if two ongoing actions happen simultaneously." 

´As ´ is the clue that the actions are taking place at the same time. "I met my neighbour as I walked down the street."

I agree with Bruce that the simple past tense is used for two actions that occur simultaneously. (Example: I listened to music while I did my home work. I watched TV while I dusted the furniture in the living room). 

You can also list a series of actions or events in simple past separated by commas. (Example: I took pictures while my family ate, danced, and partied. My mother cooked, baked, and served drinks while the guests celebrated, listened to the guest of honor, and mingled).

http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/past3a.html#sectionOne gives an example of a narration  (report) of a past series of events. 

2 Nov 2014     


Many thanks to you redcamarocruiser!

14 Mar 2015     

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