sunbathed or was sunbathing

ceedhanna posted:

When I was In Hurghada, I ...........a lot.

sunbathed

was sunbathing

Hi, Ceedhanna,

The only grammatical choice here is: 'sunbathed'.

The sentence means: When I was in Hurghada, I used to sunbath a lot. Besides, the past continuous tense isn't used to express habits in the past.

used to sunbath

Hi, Ahmed,

Please note that that correct spelling of the verb is "sunbathe."

The past continuous is used to express repeated or habitual actions in the past that were temporary

Hi, Ceedhanna,

The definition above is of course correct but should be understood in contrast with more permanent habits (expressed with "used to" or the past simple). I particularly like the first sentence, and can imagine it being said within a context like the following:

- She used to meet him once a week, but at that time she was meeting him twice a week.

I don't feel comfortable with the second sentence. My understanding is that the period in question has to be limited, and "When I lived in London" does not sound like a short period of time, nor does "When I was in Hurghada." Or perhaps the reason for the past continuous not sounding natural revolves around the use of a "when"-adverbial. Notice this sentence, which is, in my opinion, more suitable for the use of the past continuous as a temporary habit:

- We always ate in the kitchen, but in those days they were painting the kitchen so we were eating in the living room. 

ceedhanna posted:

Thanks Mr Ahmedbtm. Do you think (would sunbathe) is a possible choice as it means (used to express habits in the past)?

Yes, I think so. I once had a discussion with Rachel about the use of 'would' and 'used to'. You could read it on the following link:

https://thegrammarexchange.inf.../topic/used-to-would

ceedhanna posted:

And What about This (The past continuous is used to express repeated or habitual actions in the past that were temporary:

At that time, she was meeting him twice a week.
When I lived in London, I was getting up at 5 am to be able to get to work by 6.
)

http://www.grammaring.com/past...-actions-in-the-past

Michael Swan 3rd edition page: 396, indicates that the past progressive isn't used for repeated actions. This is what the book says:

4. not used for repeated actions
The past progressive is not the normal tense for talking about repeated or
habitual past actions. The simple past is usually used with this meaning.
I rang the bell six times. (NOT .. WfJ3 ringing the bell six times.)
When I was a child, we made our own amusements. (NOT ••• we were making
6ftr 61tffl dmtt8ernents.)
However, the past progressive is possible if the repeated actions form a
'background' for the main action.
At the time when it happened, I was travelling to New York a lot.

The last example is exactly like your first one: At that time, she was meeting him twice a week. (Please, notice that the time expression 'at that time' is effective in this choice of the past progressive here).

As for your second example: 'was getting'  is a temporary action that happened while living in London. It isn't a finished habit in the past here. Besides, it may  be something that caused the speaker's annoyance.

From the same site: http://www.grammaring.com/past...-actions-in-the-past

 

ahmedbtm posted:

ceedhanna posted:

And What about This (The past continuous is used to express repeated or habitual actions in the past that were temporary:

At that time, she was meeting him twice a week.
When I lived in London, I was getting up at 5 am to be able to get to work by 6. [. . .]

Michael Swan 3rd edition page: 396, indicates that the past progressive isn't used for repeated actions. This is what the book says:

4. not used for repeated actions
The past progressive is not the normal tense for talking about repeated or
habitual past actions. [. . .]
However, the past progressive is possible if the repeated actions form a
'background' for the main action.
At the time when it happened, I was travelling to New York a lot.

Swan has contradicted himself with his own example, unfortunately. The assertion that "[t]he past continuous is used to express repeated or habitual actions in the past that were temporary" is correct, and Gustavo is correct in affirming its truth. Swan's example (At the time when it happened, I was travelling to New York a lot) actually serves to illustrate the truth of that generalization.

"A lot" in the phrase "was travelling to New York a lot" expresses that there were numerous and frequent trips to New York in a temporary period of time. Travelling to New York was a temporary habit that the speaker had "at the time when it happened." Therefore the past progressive is a normal tense to use to express habitual actions in the past—provided the past progressive is referring to temporary past habits.

If Swan had wished to deny the obvious truth that the past continuous is a normal way to express temporarily habitual actions in the past, as his statement that "[t]he past progressive is not the normal tense for talking about repeated or habitual past actions" might seem to imply, then "a lot" should not have been included in his example. The example should have been At the time when it happened, I was travelling to New York.

That sentence means that the speaker was actually in the act of travelling to New York at the precise time when it happened. No habit is referred to. But that is not Swan's example. Swan's example supports the assertion that the past progressive is a normal tense by which temporary habits in the past are referred to. And "was sunbathing" is a correct answer in Ceedhanna's example: When I was in Hurghada, I was sunbathing a lot.

Both answers are correct. I myself would use a different construction:

  • When I was in Hughada, I did a lot of sunbathing.

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