Student or Learner
1 "While my sister was watching TV, I read her diary."
2. " While my sister was watching TV, I was reading her diary'.
I wonder what's the difference between the two sentences for native speakers.
I guess 1. emphasize the state which I read her diary. and 2. emphasize the process which I am reading her diary.
I am not so sure when to use past contious , when to use simple past tense in the main clause.
I often choose the wrong answer when I took exams in the complex sentences.
Could you clarify it for me ?
Thanks very much.
Last edited by WUKEN; 20-Sep-2008 at 14:43.
" While my sister was watching TV, I am reading her diary'.
'while' means 'at the same time as'
'was watching' : this is a past tense form of the verb (past continuous), and means that the action that was going on is now over, complete. So how can you be doing something - 'am reading' - at the same time as something which is finished?
<...was watching TV....>|finished)<...I am reading her diary...>
1 "While my sister was watching TV, I was reading her diary."
<.....watching TV......>|finished|..............NOW (the speaker says these words)
<.... was reading.......>|finished|..............NOW
2. " While my sister is watching TV, I am reading her diary'.
THE PAST|||||<.......................NOW - ONGOING.................>
THE PAST||||<....................WATCHING............. ................>
THE PAST||||<...................READING............... ...................>
Last edited by David L.; 20-Sep-2008 at 14:38.
They are both wrong.
1 "While my (was) sister watching TV, I read her diary." 'was' comes after 'sister'.
2. " While my sister (was) watching TV, I (am) reading her diary'. 'was' should be replaced with 'is' to agree with 'I am reading...' which is present tense, or 'am' should be replaced with 'was' to agree with 'was watching...'
you finished the reading before your sister finished watching TV; you did the whole reading of her diary during her watching TV.
The second reads like this:
you and your sister were both doing something at the same time, simultaneously - you reading her diary and her watching TV.
Sorry! I didn't type it correctly.
The sentences are as follows:
1 .While my sister was watching TV, I read her diary."
2. While my sister was watching TV, I was reading her diary."
Could you elaborate for me?
Thanks for your reply!!!
So if I would lit to stress the state which I read,I sould use the past simple tense.
Is it right?
I read the rule in the grammar book . It says:
you use the past continuous for actions that continued to happen before and after another action......
What my problem is that I can't seem to decide what continue or not in the main clause.
like the exampleas follows:
John is staying with us when he visits London.
Why can't I say John stays with us when he visits London.
Could you tell me what the difference is between is staying and stays to native speakers in the example?
Thanks for your clarification very much!!!
Last edited by WUKEN; 20-Sep-2008 at 15:31.
John is staying with us when he visits London. This sentence implies a future event, 'When John visits London, he will be staying with us."
When can't I say "John stays with us when he visits London." This sentence makes a general statement, "Every time John visits London, he stays with us."
So now I think I am clearer,still it's blurred to me a little.
So let me change the tense of the sentences above.
After thinking about your clarifications,
I guess the sentence 1" John was staying with us when he visited London." is not right logically and the sentence 2 " John stayed with us when he visited London ."is right logically.
Why do I think it is logically?
The reason is I guess the sentence2 means in the past maybe last year everytime he visited London, he always stayed with us.
I am not so sure the sentences meaning I guess is right or not ?
Hopefully, you could clarify my sentences.
Thanks very much!!!
Last edited by WUKEN; 21-Sep-2008 at 04:10.