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Thread: whenever

  1. #1
    FW Guest

    Default whenever

    Are these sentences correct:
    1-The builder on the other side of the street wasn't doing his work whenever I looked out of the window.
    2-The builder on the other side of the street wasn't doing his work every time I looked out of the window.

    Aren't they ambiguous?

    1a-He wasn't doing his work every time I looked out. There were times when I looked out and he was doing his work and there were times when I looked out and he wasn't doing his work. It is not true that he was doing his work every time I looked out.

    1b-He was never doing his work when I looked out. Whenever I looked out, he was not doing his work.

  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: whenever

    Are these sentences correct:
    1-The builder on the other side of the street wasn't doing his work whenever I looked out of the window.
    2-The builder on the other side of the street wasn't doing his work every time I looked out of the window.

    Aren't they ambiguous?
    Depending on context, the first one can be ambiguous, but not the second one. The second one means that sometimes the builder was working and sometimes he was not.

    1a-He wasn't doing his work every time I looked out. There were times when I looked out and he was doing his work and there were times when I looked out and he wasn't doing his work. It is not true that he was doing his work every time I looked out.

    1b-He was never doing his work when I looked out. Whenever I looked out, he was not doing his work.
    You can rework the first sentence to remove any possible ambiguity. Perhaps:

    • At no time that I looked out the window was he working.


    What do you think?

    :)

  3. #3
    FW Guest

    Default

    Thanks RonBee.
    I think your sentence is fine.
    What do you think of:
    1-I found him not working every time that I looked out of the window.
    and:
    2-Every time I looked out of the window, he wasn't working.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FW
    Thanks RonBee.
    I think your sentence is fine.
    What do you think of:
    1-I found him not working every time that I looked out of the window.
    and:
    2-Every time I looked out of the window, he wasn't working.
    In the first sentence, the word found does not fit. Perhaps it would be useful to draw a distinction between impressions and conclusions. (Perhaps not.) Example:

    • I looked out the window. He wasn't working. He never was working when I looked out the window.


    Or:

    • I looked out the window several times and never saw him working.


    I think sentence two is okay, but absent context it is up in the air what it means. There are several possibilities.

    :)

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