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  1. Senior Member
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Serbo-Croatian
      • Home Country:
      • Bosnia Herzegovina
      • Current Location:
      • Bosnia Herzegovina

    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 844
    #1

    tried/was trying

    Dear members

    I'd like to be thought why to use the past continuous in the sentence below

    I was trying to change a light bulb that had burnt out.

    Does it mean the speaker wanted to emphasise that the action took some time.

    Is it possible to use the simple past instead of the continuous in the sentence? If so, in which cases?

    Thanks

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 24,512
    #2

    Re: tried/was trying

    I was trying to change a light bulb that had burnt out.

    I tried to change a light bulb that had burnt out.
    It depends on the context. Both sentences need something to follow.

    'I was trying to change a light bulb that had burnt out when the window cleaner came for his money.'

    'I tried to change a light bulb that had burnt out but had to send for an electrician.'

    Rover

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