I was reading a book and this sentence brought my attention. I was wandering why does the writer uses the simple past as the past continious seems the correct one for me. See if I'm wrong!!:
"I had never read anything as disturbing as these ten verses. I could not stop thinking about them day and night, when I ate, when I walked to and from work, when I sat alone, when I whatched tv, when I lay in bed......"
Why not was eating, was walking, was watching.....because it conveys a past continious action.
Clarify it for me please.
The author is saying, it doesn't matter whether you ask me after the first bite of my food, or any time during the period of time implied by 'was eating' - I'd be thinking about the scenes right until the last bite; and then I might walk...and still be thinking about them. The time period, the duration of any activity, is immaterial: I eat, I think about them. I walk, I think about them.
The style of writing is of a montage, snapshots, an instance of each of these activities to portray 'he's still thinking about them'. To use a continuous tense would destroy the dramatic effect of the prose - it's like a drum beat: I eat - boom - I think about them -boom - I walk - boom - I think about them.
Last edited by David L.; 27-Jun-2008 at 00:16.