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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    as+simple past instead of while+the past continuous

    I need help with this below

    He couldn't swim away while the ship was sinking.

    I think that I once read in a grammar book that it is possible to use

    as + the simple past tense instead of while + the past continuous tense
    (Was it for particular cases, I don't remember.)

    Is it possible to say

    He couldn't swim away as the ship sank.

    But a ship sink slowly. It takes a lot of time. Could I use the form "as the ship sank" instead of the "while the ship was sinking"

    I compare it to this case

    I kept a gun in my hand as I jumped through the window.

    Is this sentence correct?

    Or it should be said this way below

    I kept a gun in my hand when I jumped through the window.

    Thanks


    • Join Date: Sep 2010
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    #2

    Re: as+simple past instead of while+the past continuous

    "He couldn't swim away as the ship sank."

    IMHO here it sounds like he couldn't swim away because the ship sank.

    In "I kept a gun in my hand as I jumped through the window." the meaning is the following - he managed to hold his gun while jumping through the window.

    And in "I kept a gun in my hand when I jumped through the window." I'd say he simply had a gun in his hand while jumping through the window.

    Actually a jump is a very short action, so the example about jumping isn't suitable here - in comparison with sinking.


    • Join Date: Sep 2010
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    #3

    Re: as+simple past instead of while+the past continuous

    "He couldn't swim away as the ship sank."

    IMHO here it sounds like he couldn't swim away because the ship sank.

    In "I kept a gun in my hand as I jumped through the window." the meaning is the following - he managed to hold his gun while jumping through the window.

    And in "I kept a gun in my hand when I jumped through the window." I'd say he simply had a gun in his hand while jumping through the window.

    Actually a jump is a very short action, so the example about jumping isn't suitable here - in comparison with sinking.

    That's what I think.

  2. Senior Member
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    #4

    Re: as+simple past instead of while+the past continuous

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTheElephant View Post
    "He couldn't swim away as the ship sank."

    IMHO here it sounds like he couldn't swim away because the ship sank.
    Could be that your HO has been useful to me.

    Then "He couldn't swim away as the ship sank." perfectly match the idea to in short say that
    he couldn't have swum while the ship was sinking and he couldn't have swum because the whirlpool was taking him under the water while the ship was sinking.

    Right?

    Or, not.

  3. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: as+simple past instead of while+the past continuous

    As can mean either 'while' or 'because." That's why there are so many different possibilities.

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