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(1) Natalie showed great composure in answering Brian's provocative question.

(2) Natalie showed great composure when answering Brian's provocative question.

(3) Natalie showed great composure when she answered Brian's provocative question.

(4) Natalie showed great composure when she was answering Brian's provocative question.

(5) Natalie showed great composure while she was answering Brian's provocative question.

Question: Which is correct?

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Those are all possible.

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Just a small observation:

Typically "while" goes with the continuous form and "when" doesn't, giving these as most typical:

when she answered
while she was answering

It is not wrong, however, to use the reverse pattern.

CJ

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Comments  

Thank you very much, GPY.

Is there any difference in connotation between (1) and (2)?

Do (2) and (3) have the same meaning?

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PhotonIs there any difference in connotation between (1) and (2)?
PhotonDo (2) and (3) have the same meaning?

All three can mean that she seemed composed while she was delivering her answer. (1) and (3) can also be interpreted as meaning that it took composure to undertake the answer. It seems less feasible that (2) would mean this. This is not an obvious or salient difference, however.

Thank you very much, CalifJim.

Thanks a lot, GPY.

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