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What should I put here?

In the key I found was asking but can I use here asked as well?

They had been seraching only for a few day when they found excatly what they were looking for- a two bedroom house in nearly an acre of garden. Unfortunately the owner...... (ask) much more than they were willing to pay.
Comments  
"Unfortunately the owner was asking more than they were willing to pay." is correct. If you substituted "asked" for "was asking," the sentence would be grammatical but awkward-sounding, in this context. "Was asking" is the verb you'd expect to find here.
Hy Anonymous (like me),

Why shouldn’t “asked” be used here? I’m just asking.

(1) The owner asked much more than they were willing to pay (i.e. when they talked to him about the house).

(2) The owner was asking much more than they were willing to pay (i.e. maybe they didn’t even talk to him; they just heard about the price from somebody else).

JK
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"Unfortunately, the owner asked much more than they were willing to pay."

"Unfortunately, the owner was asking much more than they were willing to pay."

I believe both sentences are technically correct, however the latter sentence sounds better because "was asking" lines up with "were willing."

It would sound less awkward to use "asked" if the sentence read,

"Unfortunately, the owner asked for much more than they wanted to pay."
You hear this type of sentence all the time in the US, and what you hear is: "The owner was asking..." You never hear, "The owner asked..." - even though this is technically grammatically correct. So it's just that everybody says it this way.
layla1234What should I put here?

In the key I found was asking but can I use here asked as well?

They had been seraching only for a few day when they found excatly what they were looking for- a two bedroom house in nearly an acre of garden. Unfortunately the owner.. (ask) much more than they were willing to pay.
The entire narrative is in the continuous tenses, and implies ongoing action. It is natural to continue with a parallel structure.

When a price posted on something being sold or rented (e.g. Car for sale, $2000, Apartment for rent $500/month), we say "the owner is asking $2000 for his car, or $500 per month rent for the apartment."

Posting a price is a continuous action, not a one-time quotation event.
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layla1234In the key I found was asking but can I use here asked as well?
I would not do that. asked tends to imply a single asking action. (ask doesn't mean the same here as it does when you say ask a question. It is not a matter here of making an utterance of any kind.) This 'single asking action' does not happen when something is for sale. It is for sale over a period of time - usually quite a long period of time in the case of selling a house. When a state of affairs continues for a period of time the continuous tense is used.

CJ

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