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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Past Continuous with Arrive|
|Question:||I teach a community adult ESOL class on a University campus, and last night we were briefly discussing the Past Continuous. I put these two statements on the board: I was washing the dishes as you arrived. I was washing the dishes as you were arriving. I believe that the first statement is correct. I also believe that the second statement is correct; my justification is that 'arriving' (or leaving) can be a long process. I had one student (also an EFL teacher) who vehemently disagreed. We're hoping that you can help us resolve this issue. Appreciatively, Adrienne|
|Reply:||Well, this is where language gets difficult. I hope it's a VERY advanced class! My personal instincts are the same as Professor Pyatt's. But when we come to choices between alternatives (as I have said in many of my publications), I think the best thing is to invite your students to do websearches, and listen to speech, and get them to notice what people do. There is a choice, which is probably linked to individual preferences and also to the precise context. The students could also develop dialogues in which one or other would be preferable. Anthea|
|Reply From:||Anthea Fraser Gupta click here to access email|