Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    slavaj is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    5
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Past continuous (when vs. while)

    Hello. While I was reading a book I saw these sentences:
    1) While we were waiting, it started to rain
    2) I cut my finger when I was peeling the potatoes
    3) While Dick was preparing lunch, he cut his finger
    The question is when should I use while and when should I use when.

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    19,554
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Past continuous (when vs. while)

    Quote Originally Posted by slavaj View Post
    Hello. While I was reading a book I saw these sentences:
    1) While we were waiting, it started to rain
    2) I cut my finger when I was peeling the potatoes
    3) While Dick was preparing lunch, he cut his finger
    The question is when should I use while and when should I use when.
    "When" will generally mean "while" when there is a continuous action happening, as in all your examples (waiting, peeling, preparing). So you can use either for all those sentences.
    When the action is a single action (in the simple past) you can't use "while" because there's no duration. "When he got out of the bath, he slipped over" (not "while")

  3. #3
    slavaj is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    5
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Past continuous (when vs. while)

    Thank you but I mean when should I use while and when should I use when in the past continuous. For example in the second sentence we have when (when I was peeling the potatoes) but in the third sentence we have while ( while dick was preparing lunch ) So, my question is what's the difference?

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    19,554
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Past continuous (when vs. while)

    Quote Originally Posted by slavaj View Post
    Thank you but I mean when should I use while and when should I use when in the past continuous. For example in the second sentence we have when (when I was peeling the potatoes) but in the third sentence we have while ( while dick was preparing lunch ) So, my question is what's the difference?
    As I said, you can use either.
    If both clauses are continuous ("While I was sleeping, Mary was reading"), use "while".
    If you're still not sure, you could give more examples, but I think that covers it.
    Last edited by Raymott; 07-Jan-2013 at 09:52. Reason: missing word added

  5. #5
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    14,112
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Past continuous (when vs. while)

    When in doubt, use when.

    You will nearly always be right.

    Rover

Similar Threads

  1. [Grammar] past continuous vs present perfect continuous
    By taksobie in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 18-Dec-2012, 21:17
  2. past perfect continuous vs past continuous
    By shabani in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 31-Dec-2011, 12:27
  3. [Grammar] past continuous vs past perfect continuous
    By dilodi83 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 11-Aug-2011, 11:31
  4. [Grammar] Past continuous vs Past perfect continuous
    By dilodi83 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-May-2011, 13:18
  5. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 11-Dec-2007, 20:19

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •