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  1. #1
    payal desai is offline Junior Member
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    Default A watchman sat inside

    I saw in a novel in which a boy was telling about the past:- I went to the small guard post at the entrance of the building. "A watchman sat inside."
    Here a watchman sat inside is a simple past tense which explains the entire process of sitting by the watchman is done, similar to the sentences like- that boy sung a song, he went to the room. Since the watchman here is already in the sitting position so we can say that- "a watchman was sitting inside".
    Pls help me with this.
    Last edited by payal desai; 05-May-2013 at 14:28.

  2. #2
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: A watchman sat inside

    I think in most case I'd have used 'was sitting inside', but for immediacy a novelist might choose to use the past simple.

    b

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: A watchman sat inside

    We get a lot of questions about how native speakers/writers use tenses.

    It's perhaps worth noting that the guidelines given in most reputable grammars and coursebooks are just that - guidelines. If learners follow them, probably 99% of the sentences they write and utter will sound fine to a native speaker. However, native speakers can and do use the tenses in ways that don't always seem in accord with the guidelines. If writers tried to list every possible acceptable usage of a tense, mood or aspect, their books would be thousands of pages long.

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