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    #1

    We were about to start when it rained.

    We were about to start when it rained. (quoted from a textbook published in China)

    Is the above sentence acceptable? A Chinese teacher of English tells me that it should be corrected as follows:
    We were about to start when it began to rain.
    Last edited by sitifan; 12-Dec-2015 at 05:03.
    I need native speakers' help.

  1. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: We were about to start when it rained.

    As a matter of personal taste I would agree with your informant: "when it began to rain" is better. But "when it rained" is heard and cannot be classified as wrong.

  2. teechar's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: We were about to start when it rained.

    I would also prefer something like "when it started to rain" or "when it started raining" simply because "rain" is often not a short/quick event; if it was in your case, then "rained" would be fine.

    e.g.,
    A: The weather was really strange yesterday afternoon; it rained heavily for about two minutes, then it stopped.
    B: So did you cancel your plans for the walk?
    A: We were about to start when it rained. But since it only rained for two minutes, we went ahead with the walk.

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    #4

    Re: We were about to start when it rained.

    It's an improvement, but the original is OK.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: We were about to start when it rained.

    I prefer "when it started to rain/when it started raining" but to avoid the repetition of "start", I might say "We were about to begin when it started raining".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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