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    #1

    Question Two connected actions in the past.

    When Lenka arrived, Martina left.


    Can someone please try to make this statement clear to me.

    I can't identify the tense of above statement.

    I keep getting confused with the time line of the actions.



    Lenka arrived and Martina left at the same time.



    Can someone please help me to understand the tense of this statement.

    Thank you for your help.

  1. kfredson's Avatar

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
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    #2

    Re: Two connected actions in the past.

    Quote Originally Posted by curumin View Post
    When Lenka arrived, Martina left.


    Can someone please try to make this statement clear to me.

    I can't identify the tense of above statement.

    It is in the past tense.

    I keep getting confused with the time line of the actions.



    Lenka arrived and Martina left at the same time.

    That is a good interpretation.

    Can someone please help me to understand the tense of this statement.

    Thank you for your help.
    You're welcome.

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    #3

    Re: Two connected actions in the past.

    Quote Originally Posted by curumin View Post
    A. When Lenka arrived, Martina left.

    B. Lenka arrived and Martina left at the same time. This meaning is possible, but it is not the usual meaning.
    The usual meaning actually is that first Lenka arrived, then Martina left.

    'I left when Lenka arrived.' means that I left soon after Lenka arrived.
    (Maybe we are not friends and don't like to be in the same place.)
    (Maybe we are both workers at the same place, and one of us always has to be there.)

    Maybe it doesn't seem logical, but that is the real situation.

    If you want to make it clear that the two actions happened at the same time, you should say 'Lenka arrived at the same time Martina left.' or 'Martina left at the same time Lenka arrived.'
    (or sentence B)



    Thank you for your help.
    2006
    Last edited by 2006; 24-Jan-2010 at 04:48. Reason: adding (or sentence B)

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Two connected actions in the past.

    Quote Originally Posted by curumin View Post
    When Lenka arrived, Martina left.

    Can someone please try to make this statement clear to me.

    I can't identify the tense of above statement.
    The timeline is a different thing from the tense.
    To work out the tense of each clause, you have the verbs arrive/arrived/arrived, and leave, left, left.
    Since there are no auxiliaries, you can rule out the perfect tenses.
    That leaves the simple past (and perhaps, in some cases, a subjunctive).
    There's no indication of subjunctive here, so the clauses are both in the simple past tense.
    This is also the case in "I went to Rome, and Mary went to Paris".
    You cannot extract the timeline from the information given in this case. But, as others have pointed out, sometimes you can.

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