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  1. fatimah_asam
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    #1

    completed action

    This question appears in my today's advanced exercise.
    (for me it is quite difficult)

    A) I waved to her but she _________ at me.
    1. was not looking
    2. didn't look

    I have peeked at the answer at the back of my book.
    the answer is: was not look.

    Why the past continuous tense is used when the progress is not impoart in this context?

    when the progress is important then we use the continuous tense, for example:
    I turned round when she was looking at me.
    It makes sense.

    But if I only want to express "did or not did", it should be:
    I waved to her but she didn't look at me.

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    #2

    Re: completed action

    Quote Originally Posted by fatimah_asam View Post
    This question appears in my today's advanced exercise.
    (for me it is quite difficult)

    A) I waved to her but she _________ at me.
    1. was not looking
    2. didn't look

    I have peeked at the answer at the back of my book.
    the answer is: was not look.

    Why the past continuous tense is used when the progress is not impoart in this context?

    when the progress is important then we use the continuous tense, for example:
    I turned round when she was looking at me.
    It makes sense.

    But if I only want to express "did or not did", it should be:
    I waved to her but she didn't look at me.
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good morning, Fatimah.

    (1) Hopefully, a teacher will soon answer you.

    (2) May I just make a few comments?

    (3) I respectfully suggest you review the use of the past continuous/progressive tense. It can be very confusing. I agree.

    (4) Here is an example from a book used by many students:

    Yesterday Dave and Jim played tennis. They began at 10:00 and finished at 11:00.

    Now these words are mine -- not the book's: I called Dave at his home at

    10:30, but I could not reach him. Why? Because he was (at that time)

    playing tennis with Jim.

    (5) Let's say your friend walked down the street at 10:00 and finished her

    walk at 11:00. During that hour, she looked at the windows of the

    different stores.

    (6) Let's say you saw your friend and waved at 10:30.

    (7) But your friend did not see you at 10:30. Why?

    She WAS LOOKING at the windows of the stores. She was NOT looking in

    your direction at 10:30.

    Have a nice day!

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: completed action

    I think either one would work.

    A: Oh, you were at the party at Mary's house? Did you see Anne?
    B: Yes, but it was really crowded. I saw her. In fact, I waved to her, but she didn't look at me. She probably doesn't even know I was there.

    No problem with that.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #4

    Re: completed action

    Quote Originally Posted by fatimah_asam View Post
    This question appears in my today's advanced exercise.
    (for me it is quite difficult)

    A) I waved to her but she _________ at me.
    1. was not looking
    2. didn't look
    I think here both answers could be possible, depending on the context.
    TheParser's explanation above is indeed very clear. But what about if the speaker wants to emphasize the moment she looked/didn't look at him?
    For instance, you could say:

    I waved at her coincidentally when she looked at me.
    I waved at her at the exact moment in which she looked at me.

    I reckon the meaning above is something like "to glance", that is "to look at (something/somebody) quickly" or to "to look quickly at". So I ask, can the verb "look at" be used with a "glance" meaning?

    In TheParser's example, what about if the girl was waiting for the boy's wave from 10:00 to 11:00, but exactly between 10:29 and 10:31 she distracted herself and looked at a window store? And the poor boy happened to wave to her at 10:30.

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    #5

    Re: completed action

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    I think here both answers could be possible, depending on the context.
    TheParser's explanation above is indeed very clear. But what about if the speaker wants to emphasize the moment she looked/didn't look at him?
    For instance, you could say:

    I waved at her coincidentally when she looked at me.
    I waved at her at the exact moment in which she looked at me.

    I reckon the meaning above is something like "to glance", that is "to look at (something/somebody) quickly" or to "to look quickly at". So I ask, can the verb "look at" be used with a "glance" meaning?

    In TheParser's example, what about if the girl was waiting for the boy's wave from 10:00 to 11:00, but exactly between 10:29 and 10:31 she distracted herself and looked at a window store? And the poor boy happened to wave to her at 10:30.
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good morning, ymnisky.

    (1) Excelllent points.

    (2) I was wondering whether it depends on the verb.

    (3) Using the example from your last paragraph, could we say:

    I happened to wave to her at 10:30, but she did not SEE me (because something had distracted her).

    (4) Doesn't "look" have the idea of purposely seeking something?

    For example, when you go to a store, an attentive sales associate

    (the nice name for a clerk) asks:

    Excuse me. Are you looking for something? NOT:

    Excuse me. Are you seeing something?

    Have a nice day!

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    #6

    Re: completed action

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post

    (2) I was wondering whether it depends on the verb.
    Yes, it sure depends on the verb.
    This is an extract from "The Stuff of Thought" by Steven Pinker:
    "Verbs are also divided by whether they describe an event that is spread out in time, like running or drawing a circle (they are called "durative"), or instantaneous, like winning a race or swatting a fly. Of course only Superman can execute an action in no time at all; the rest of us have to raise the fly swatter, bring it down, hit the fly, and so on. But the event can be thought of as instantaneous if it lies within the specious present. Linguists sometimes call these events "momentaneous," a lovely word that was last in vogue in the seventeenth century."

    I wonder whether "look at" can be classified as a "durative" or as a "momentaneous" verb. I think it may comprise both categories:
    She was looking at the window stores from 10:00 to 11:00. (durative)
    She looked at me at 10:30 (momentaneous)
    What do you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post

    (4) Doesn't "look" have the idea of purposely seeking something?
    It sure depends on the preposition.
    "look for" -> purposely seeking something
    "look at" -> purposely seeing something
    I guess it is similar to "listen to" and "listen for".

    In the store the dialog could go like this:
    clerk: Excuse me, are you looking for something special?
    customer: No, not really. I was just casually looking at these items.



    PS By the way I highly recommend that Steven Pinker's book for anyone interested in language in general. I would say it is a must.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: completed action

    Quote Originally Posted by fatimah_asam View Post
    This question appears in my today's advanced exercise.
    (for me it is quite difficult)

    A) I waved to her but she _________ at me.
    1. was not looking
    2. didn't look

    I have peeked at the answer at the back of my book.
    the answer is: was not look.

    Why the past continuous tense is used when the progress is not impoart in this context?

    when the progress is important then we use the continuous tense, for example:
    I turned round when she was looking at me.
    It makes sense.

    But if I only want to express "did or not did", it should be:
    I waved to her but she didn't look at me.
    To me, the given answer seems obvious.
    She didn't wave back. Why? Because she wasn't looking at me, so how could she see me waving?
    The progressive is necessary.

    To say, "I waved to her but she didn't look at me" suggests that you can catch someone's attention and get them to look at you by waving. But how do they see you waving if they're not looking?

    She has to be looking at me (continuous) for waving to have any effect. The reason it had no effect was that she wasn't looking.

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    #8

    Re: completed action

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    To me, the given answer seems obvious.
    She didn't wave back. Why? Because she wasn't looking at me, so how could she see me waving?
    The progressive is necessary.

    To say, "I waved to her but she didn't look at me" suggests that you can catch someone's attention and get them to look at you by waving. But how do they see you waving if they're not looking?

    She has to be looking at me (continuous) for waving to have any effect. The reason it had no effect was that she wasn't looking.
    Thanks for your important contribution Raymott.
    But if I may please, I would like to insist a little bit more on my point:

    Your text above justifies why the progressive is a possible answer, but not why it is necessary, as you claim. I guess everybody above agreed that the first option (progressive) is correct. In fact I am now convinced that it is the most natural answer here. I affirm, however, that the second option, namely,

    I waved to her but she didn't look at me

    may also be correct if the speaker wants to emphasize the fact that she didn't look at him precisely at that moment. I mean, it would be a paraphrase of

    I waved at her but she didn't see me

    or maybe

    I waved at her but she didn't turn around to look at me.

    And I think it is possible for someone to wave to a girl (when passing by quicky in a car for instance) and expect her to look at you, even if it does not make sense, I mean people do it and only afterwards stop to think about it. If the event happens quickly maybe you don't have time to think. You could say to yourself:
    I waved at her but she didn't look at me. Why? Of course, she wasn't seeing me! I should have shouted, what a fool I am.

    Please forgive my insistence, but is the first option of the OP really completely ruled out?
    Is the expression "to look at" used only when someone has a firm purpose of looking?

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    #9

    Re: completed action

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    I waved to her but she didn't look at me

    may also be correct if the speaker wants to emphasize the fact that she didn't look at him precisely at that moment. I mean, it would be a paraphrase of

    I waved at her but she didn't see me

    or maybe

    I waved at her but she didn't turn around to look at me.
    That's my point. She'd have to be telepathic for you to expect that.

    I concede that it's possible. They could both be right.
    If you were at a crowded restaurant or even a football game, and she was looking in your general direction, you might hope that she would see you waving and look at you.
    It's just possible enough to consider it for a few seconds, and then reject it for the more likely meaning.

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