A. I saw lions when I went to the zoo.
B. I went to the zoo when I saw lions.
I think the sentence A is easy to understand. But very rarely I come across sentences like B. Are they peculiar to the English language? I felt some incongruity with them.
Thanks in advance
Hello, Gillnetter and 2006!
Thank you very much for your explanations.
My question is based on a sentence by a teacher which appeared on the forum.
The sentence may (or must) be one quite different from my sentences in nature. And perhaps I just question out of my lack of understanding of the matter.
TheParser, please forgive me to cite your sentence so that I can continue my question.
A few years ago, I was reading a British newspaper online when I came across the word "naughties."
1. The sentence above doesn’t seem to be interpreted in the same way as Gillnetter explained regarding my question.
2. When I read the sentence, I just thought it would be easier to understand if the sentence were written in such a way as;
A few years ago, I came across the word "naughties." when I was reading a British newspaper online.
Thanks in advance
I was AT the zoo when I saw lions.
I was VISITING the zoo when I saw lions.
This shows that the two things happened at the same time. In your original sentence you used the past simple both times, suggesting that the two events happened at different times. You saw some lions and, as a result, you went to the zoo.
I went to the hospital when I hit my head (result and cause)
I cleaned the floor when I dropped the cup of coffee (result and cause)
I was at the hospital when I hit my head (same time)
I was cleaning the floor when I dropped the cup of coffee (same time)
Last edited by emsr2d2; 18-Jun-2010 at 06:29. Reason: Typo
Thank you very much for your explanation.
Thanks to your explanation, my questions were cleared up.
Another way of rewording it would be 'I went to the zoo, where I saw lions' - in which the 'where' (with the simple past) implies 'when'. (If they were no longer at the zoo, and the trip was a disappointment, you might say 'I went to the zoo where [on a previous visit] I had seen lions' but with the simple past, 'where' does the job.)