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    #1

    Bob stepped out for a smoke

    I am wondering if my sentence sounds natural.

    Bob stepped out for a smoke when the fire started on the second floor of the office building.

  1. teechar's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Bob stepped out for a smoke

    Which happened first?!
    Try:
    When Bob stepped out for a smoke, a fire started on the second floor of the office building.

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    #3

    Re: Bob stepped out for a smoke

    teechar,

    Thank you for reminding me which happened first. I didn't think about that until you told me. First Bob stepped out for a smoke, and then a fire started.

    Could I rephrase my sentence like this:

    Bob stepped out for a smoke just before a fire started on the second floor of the office building.

  2. teechar's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Bob stepped out for a smoke

    Yes, but I would use "had stepped out" in that last sentence.

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    #5

    Re: Bob stepped out for a smoke

    So would I.

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    #6

    Re: Bob stepped out for a smoke

    Otherwise, without some references as to the sequence of events, it sounds like Bob's (ironic) reaction to the fire starting was to merely step outside for a smoke.

    "Oh, there's a fire on the second floor. Good time for a quick smoke."

    There's probably a good comedy scene in that scenario, just waiting to be written.
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    #7

    Re: Bob stepped out for a smoke

    If the building were being evacuated, it would be churlish not to take the opportunity for a cigarette break.

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