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    #1

    change while to when to

    I've always believed that while is used before the past progressive and when before the past simple.

    "She watched a movie while I was cramming for my tests."

    OR

    "I was fixing my breakfest when she read the news paper."

    Here's what I found in a grammar text-book

    "According to the rules of prescriptive grammar, while must occur before the past progressive and when before the simple past. Native speakers,however,will commonly
    substitute when for while before the past progressive."

    So I could have said that

    1)"I was fixing my breakfast while she read the news paper"? Did I understand the passage correctly?

    Would that have been possible to say

    2)"While she read the newspaper, I was fixing my breakfest."?

    OR

    3)"She was reading the newspaper while I was fixing my breakfast."

    OR

    4)"She read the newspaper, while I fixed my breakfest."

    Which grammar construction would be more often used in conversation?
    Last edited by ostap77; 23-Nov-2010 at 14:44.

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    #2

    Re: change while to when to

    Yes, you can; it's not an absolute rule- more a pattern of usage.

    "I was fixing my breakfest when she read the news paper."
    This sentence sounds a bit odd to me me as both actions ran for the same period of time, so the version with while works better for me, or you could put both in the past progressive.

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    #3

    Re: change while to when to

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Yes, you can; it's not an absolute rule- more a pattern of usage.



    This sentence sounds a bit odd to me me as both actions ran for the same period of time, so the version with while works better for me, or you could put both in the past progressive.
    If possible, I would appreciate a detailed word of advice on the whole post.

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