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    #1

    Difference in meaning using "when" plus past simple/ progressive/ perfect but okay?

    Dear teachers,

    I just need to make sure that I got it right. Here is the sentence in question:

    a) One summer morning, when Mr Miller was making breakfast for his wife [who had been working in the garden since 6 o'clock] the doorbell rang.

    b) One summer morning, when Mr Miller made breakfast for his wife [who had been working in the garden since 6 o'clock] the doorbell rang.

    c) One summer morning, when Mr Miller had made breakfast for his wife [who had been working in the garden since 6 o'clock] the doorbell rang.


    My favourite one is a), since Mr Miller was in the middle of doing sth when sth else happened.

    b) sounds odd to me

    c) is okay, thinking of "just" after "had". But is it possible without "just"?

    Thanks for having a look at my question!

    And Happy New Year!

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Difference in meaning using "when" plus past simple/ progressive/ perfect but oka

    a) and c) are correct. b) is not correct.
    "Invading armies have no rights." Noam Chomsky

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Difference in meaning using "when" plus past simple/ progressive/ perfect but oka

    Mr. Miller was making breakfast for his wife and himself when he was interrupted by the sound of the doorbell.

    Eh?

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    #4

    Post Re: Difference in meaning using "when" plus past simple/ progressive/ perfect but oka

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    Mr. Miller was making breakfast for his wife and himself when he was interrupted by the sound of the doorbell.

    Eh?

    Well, I suppose he had already had some coffee before...

    Yeah, the idea is that he was indeed interrupted. But the question is whether it is also possible to say that this doorbell-ringing happened shortly after the breakfast-making-thing, that is whether I can use "had made" as well to indicate that idea.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Difference in meaning using "when" plus past simple/ progressive/ perfect but oka

    I prefer "while" to "when".

    One morning, while Mr Miller was making breakfast, the doorbell rang.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #6

    Re: Difference in meaning using "when" plus past simple/ progressive/ perfect but oka

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I prefer "while" to "when".

    One morning, while Mr Miller was making breakfast, the doorbell rang.
    I agree, it sounds more natural.

  4. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Difference in meaning using "when" plus past simple/ progressive/ perfect but oka

    Quote Originally Posted by Buddy42 View Post
    Well, I suppose he had already had some coffee before...

    Yeah, the idea is that he was indeed interrupted. But the question is whether it is also possible to say that this doorbell-ringing happened shortly after the breakfast-making-thing, that is whether I can use "had made" as well to indicate that idea.
    Sure. Say:

    He had just finished making breakfast for his wife and himself when he heard the sound of the doorbell.

    ( I am not sure how to force "had made" into that sentence.)

  5. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Difference in meaning using "when" plus past simple/ progressive/ perfect but oka

    Hopefully they have finished eating breakfast by now.

  6. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Difference in meaning using "when" plus past simple/ progressive/ perfect but oka

    What was taking Mrs. Miller so long? She had only gone out to the garden to pick strawberries.

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    #10

    Re: Difference in meaning using "when" plus past simple/ progressive/ perfect but oka

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    What was taking Mrs. Miller so long? She had only gone out to the garden to pick strawberries.
    Well, she had a lot more to do, like planting potatoes for instance...

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