Student or Learner
Born in London on April 3, 1934, world-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall got an early start on animal study, spending much of her childhood observing animals that lived right in the backyard of her house. Later, Kipling’s Jungle Book and the Tarzan stories fascinated her as well, and those, coupled with her love for animals, led her to plan a life in the African jungle. When she finally ventured into Africa at the age of 23, Goodall was fulfilling her childhood dream
Which one of the actions occurred first?
A native speaker who is a friend of mine has explained the question above, but I am wondering if it is correct.
- When she finally ventured into Africa at the age of 23, Goodall was fulfilling her childhood dream.
I think the past continuous is used in the sentence above to provide a more descriptive or vivid view of the experience Goodall underwent when she went to Africa. We could paraphrase the sentence as follows:
- Goodall went to Africa at the age of 23, and doing so was equivalent to fulfilling her childhood dream.
Last edited by emsr2d2; 18-May-2015 at 16:45. Reason: Sorted out line formatting
The sequence of events is: she had the dream first (ever since she was a child), then she ventured to Africa, lastly fulfilling her dream.
I basically agree with what your friend has said, although I would add that one reason we use the past continuous is to show an interrupted action in the past. In this case the interrupted action is her dream to visit Africa, which was interrupted by her venture to Africa.