Sasha
Professional Teacher
Past Simple versus Past Continuous Hello , everyone! Could you help me with the task below? Which is/are correct or normal: A, B, (C) or both /all three? Write your answer on the answer sheet. 18. When Andrew came into my life, I (A moved B was moving) from one dead-end job to another, without much idea of what I really wanted in life. On the one hand I can see 2 consequtive actions here. Andrew came into my life - I moved from one dead-end job to another. On the other hand I guess it is also possible to assume that When he came into my life a process was going on in my life, i.e. I was moving from one dead-end job to another. Since the instruction suggests that both answers can be correct or normal maybe this is the case. What do you think?
Sep 29, 2018 4:16 PM
Answers · 3
Hello Sasha. Tricky, that one. Your logic is sound, but I don't think it sounds idiomatic when you use the simple past. In this sentence, with a few tweaks, Andrew is the cause of the employment-related ennui: - After Andrew came into my life, I began to move from one dead-end job to another, without much idea of what I really wanted in life. In this one, he may actually be the person who saves the writer from the sorry state of affairs: - When Andrew came into my life, I was moving from one dead-end job to another, without much idea of what I really wanted in life. So in relation to the test, I would say both are possible, grammatically; but the second -- the past continuous form -- makes more sense in terms of the semantics. Take your pick. ;-)
September 29, 2018
I agree with Gareth - both meanings are possible but different and that the past continuous is more natural. This is a narrative and the writer seems to be setting the scene connected to a particular period. This suggests the past continuous. If there was a sequence in the past simple, the words "once" or "as soon as" would better indicate this than "when", which is a more general idea.
September 29, 2018
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