''When he was drawing a picture, I was watching a movie.''
I think it is OK if ''when'' is used instead of ''while'' to express two actions happening at the same time in the past.
Hi, Ahmed.A.A—I agree with Ahmed_btm that both "when" and "while" can be used there. It should be noted that in such sentences the progressive is used in the "when"-clause. If the past simple were used, only "while" would work:
(1a) While he was drawing a picture, I was watching a movie. (1b) When he was drawing a picture, I was watching a movie.
(2a) While he drew a picture, I watched a movie. (2b) When he drew a picture, I watched a movie.
Sentence (2b) has a totally different meaning from that of the first three examples. It is talking either about two activities beginning at the same time or about their habitual cooccurrence: "Whenever he did this, I did that."
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