Results 1 to 3 of 3
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Oct 2009
    • Posts: 179
    #1

    were being built/were built

    Dear all,

    What's the difference between the two sentences below?

    Thanks in advance.

    Roads, railways, and canals were being built at a rapid pace.
    Roads, railways, and canals were built rapidly.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Oct 2008
    • Posts: 1,211
    #2

    Re: were being built/were built

    "Were being built" describes a situation in the past when construction was on going over a period of time. We are talking in general here, not about a specific railway or road or canal. All of them were coming together, rapidly.

    "Were built" describes, or implies, each road, railway and canal was, itself specifically, built rapidly. We can imagine a loss of quality, for example, in the rush to complete each project, an implication that is missing when you say they "were being built at a rapid pace."

    If I were to animate this into a Disney cartoon, the first example would show a map of the country, with roads, railroads, and canals being drawn on the map in an increasingly dense network of lines. Eventually, the map would be more lines than open spaces.

    The second example, however, would open as a cartoon of an assembly line in a factory, churning out trains as quickly as Donald Duck and his compaions could assemble them; then switching to an outdoor scene as Mickey and his pals were rapidly digging canals, pitching shovelfuls of earth over their shoulders just as the water was coming down the canal carrying a boat. Meanwhile another set of workers would be grading road surfaces right up to the canal bank.

    Does the visual help?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Oct 2009
    • Posts: 179
    #3

    Re: were being built/were built

    Quote Originally Posted by jlinger View Post
    "Were being built" describes a situation in the past when construction was on going over a period of time. We are talking in general here, not about a specific railway or road or canal. All of them were coming together, rapidly.

    "Were built" describes, or implies, each road, railway and canal was, itself specifically, built rapidly. We can imagine a loss of quality, for example, in the rush to complete each project, an implication that is missing when you say they "were being built at a rapid pace."

    If I were to animate this into a Disney cartoon, the first example would show a map of the country, with roads, railroads, and canals being drawn on the map in an increasingly dense network of lines. Eventually, the map would be more lines than open spaces.

    The second example, however, would open as a cartoon of an assembly line in a factory, churning out trains as quickly as Donald Duck and his compaions could assemble them; then switching to an outdoor scene as Mickey and his pals were rapidly digging canals, pitching shovelfuls of earth over their shoulders just as the water was coming down the canal carrying a boat. Meanwhile another set of workers would be grading road surfaces right up to the canal bank.

    Does the visual help?
    Thank you for the scenes, it helped me a lot.

Similar Threads

  1. how I'm built
    By GUEST2008 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 14-May-2010, 08:34
  2. built upon the sense of...
    By lukre in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-Jul-2009, 15:54
  3. to build/built/to be built
    By joham in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 01-Apr-2009, 16:12
  4. built around
    By ian2 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-Apr-2007, 05:28
  5. How to built up my vocabulary?
    By JessieLee in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 25-Aug-2004, 07:49

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •