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  1. sara88's Avatar

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    #1

    why the use of simple past??!!

    Hello all
    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.
    sara

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    • Join Date: Apr 2008
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    #2

    Re: why the use of simple past??!!

    Quote Originally Posted by sara88 View Post
    Hello all
    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.
    sara
    Personally, I agree with you, it would be better if it had stayed in the past simple, but authors write what they want to write.


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    #3
    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.; 26-Jun-2008 at 23:16.

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