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  1. #1
    Anonymous Guest

    Default did vs were doing

    Is there a difference between the two interrogatives:
    (1)What did you do yesterday ?
    and
    (2)What were you doing yesterday ?

    A related question:
    In the following two sentences:
    1.I went to the movie yesterday.
    2. I was clearning my house yesterday.
    Does the first one implies going to the movie was one of several activities
    that I did yesterday and "cleaning the house" was all I did yesterday ?

  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: did vs were doing

    Quote Originally Posted by bonvivant
    Is there a difference between the two interrogatives:
    (1)What did you do yesterday ?
    and
    (2)What were you doing yesterday ?
    They would be used in different contexts.

    • A: What did you do yesterday?
      B: What were you doing yesterday when I saw you at that place where you shouldn't have been?


    Quote Originally Posted by bonvivant
    A related question:
    In the following two sentences:
    1.I went to the movie yesterday.
    2. I was clearning my house yesterday.
    Does the first one implies going to the movie was one of several activities
    that I did yesterday and "cleaning the house" was all I did yesterday ?
    The first sentence is a simple statement of fact. One would assume that a person did more during the day than go to a movie, but that sentence does not suggest that he did anything else. (Say: "Does the first one imply?")


    The second sentence does not say that all the person did was clean house. Also, we do not normally use the past progressive that way.

    • Yesterday, I was cleaning the house when Mr. Wilson rang the doorbell.
      Yesterday, I was cleaning the house when a meteor fell through the roof.
      Yesterday, I was cleaning the house when the earthquake hit.


    • A: What did you do yesterday?
      B: I cleaned the house, then I went out to see a movie.


    When you are simply reporting on a past occurence, use the simple past.

    :)

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