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  1. #1
    Meja is offline Member
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    lived/were living

    We were living/lived in Australia when we started this project.
    Jane was living/lived in Rome when she met Tom.

    Is one of these tenses a better choice in these examples or does it depend on the situation - whether someone temporarily or permanently lives somewhere?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: lived/were living

    The continuous tense means that the situation was temporary. However, in this case the sentences with the simple past suggest the same thing; in most cases, you wouldn't have to mention where the person lived at the time if they still lived there.
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  3. #3
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    Matthew Wai is offline VIP Member
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    Re: lived/were living

    I think the 'lived' below does not suggest a temporary situation.

    When we lived in Australia, we started this project.
    Jane lived in Rome, where she met Tom.
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  4. #4
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: lived/were living

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    I think the 'lived' below does not suggest a temporary situation.

    When we lived in Australia, we started this project.
    Jane lived in Rome, where she met Tom.
    Introducing the first sentence with when tells the reader that the writer no longer lives in Australia. Using were living would emphasize this a bit.

    The second sentence doesn't say anything about how long Jane lived in Rome, so the reader takes that as a permanent arrangement.
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  5. #5
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Re: lived/were living

    Quote Originally Posted by Meja View Post
    We were living/ lived/were living in Australia ...
    Your thread title puts the alternatives the right way round. From the way you wrote them in the sentences, a learner may think 'We were lived'/'Jane was lived' are possible choices.

  6. #6
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    Re: lived/were living

    I would use the past continuous in both of those contexts.

  7. #7
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    Re: lived/were living

    Quote Originally Posted by teechar View Post
    I would use the past continuous in both of those contexts.
    So would I. I might also use "We used to live in Australia. That's where we started this project" and "Jane used to live in Rome. That's where she met Tom."
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  8. #8
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: lived/were living

    I've often used the past simple in these situations: When I lived in Ann Arbor, I worked at Eden Foods. That feels a lot more natural than a continuous tense would.
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  9. #9
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    teechar is offline Moderator
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    Re: lived/were living

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    I've often used the past simple in these situations: When I lived in Ann Arbor, I worked at Eden Foods. That feels a lot more natural than a continuous tense would.
    But that's different!
    Here we have two parallel long actions (live/work).
    In the OP's examples, we have a long action (live) and a short action (start/meet) that occurs during the long action.

  10. #10
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: lived/were living

    How about this one? When I lived in Toronto, I started to play the accordion. I wouldn't be likely to use the continuous tense there.
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