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Hallo,

ich habe da ein Problem mit einem Satz der in der Grundform steht. Meine Aufgabe ist es entweder Simple Past oder Past progressive zu verwenden, je nach Bedarf. Ich war mir aber bei diesem Satz nicht sicher und fragte ein paar Leute. Das Resultat waren drei verschiedene Meinungen. Ich möchte aber rausfinden was ist richtig und weshalb.

Hier der Grundsatz: Verben in Klammern müssen geändert werden
- He (teach) English for two months when he (live) in Germany and (work) as a journalist.

Ich denke richtig ist: (bin mir aber nicht ganz sicher)
- He taught English for two months when he lived in Germany and worked as a journalist.

Wegen meiner Zweifel bekam ich noch diese Sätze von anderen:
- He was teaching English for two months when he lived in Germany and worked as a journalist
and
- He taught English for two months when he was living in Germany and worked as a journalist.

Vielleicht ist aber auch eine ganz andere Variante richtig. Für mich ist das jetzt alles ein bisschen verwirrend. Würde aber gerne wissen, was ist richtig und weshalb.

Ich danke
1 2
Comments  
Hello Robsee, welcome to English Forums!

This is the version I would choose:

'He taught¹ English for two months, when he was living² in Germany and working³ as a journalist.'

From the 'basic version', we can see that the purpose of this sentence is to provide two levels of information: 1) the fact that he taught English 2) some explanation of the circumstances.

Because of 1, I chose the past simple at ¹. We simply need to define what he did. A past progressive would emphasise the process of teaching; but we want to emphasise the action as a whole.

Because of 2, I chose the past progressive at ² and ³. Here, we are interested in processes (living, working) that occurred during another action (teaching). This is a standard use of progressive tenses: to talk about actions that occur during a particular period.

If we look at your versions:

1. 'He taught English for two months when he lived in Germany and worked as a journalist.'
– The emphasis here is on teaching English. The circumstances don't seem very important.

2. 'He was teaching English for two months when he lived in Germany and worked as a journalist.'
– The structure [past progressive + when] usually introduces a clause that describes an action that is completed during the period that the past progressive relates to:

'I was doing X when Y happened.'
'I was working in Germany when I met your mother.'

This isn't the case in sentence #2, so the reader has a slight feeling of anti-climax.

3. 'He taught English for two months when he was living in Germany and worked as a journalist.'
– Since the 'living in Germany' and 'working as a journalist' occurred during the same period, it would be more usual to put both in the past progressive. Sentence #3 has a slight ambiguity: it appears that the 'working as a journalist' is in addition to the 'teaching English'.

I hope that's clear – let me know if not!

Es ist übrigens mehr üblich, immer hier Englisch zu sprechen – mehr wahrscheinlich ist es dann, dass man antwortet!

Bis bald
MrP
Ach, Himmel! Der fusnoten gescribblern! Ich habe ein grosseste Eifersucht! Wo machest dieser foosnoten, Herr P?
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Was ist denn hier los??
Guten Morgen, Herr M!

Fussnotenzeichen macht man so:

ALT + 0185 = ¹
ALT + 0178 = ²
ALT + 0179 = ³

(Mit NumLock auf ON.)

Leider gibt es keine 4. Aber 3 Fussnoten genügen, nicht wahr?

Bis bald!
HerrP
Wird das hier jetzt 'ne deutsche Ecke?? ***
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Am dunkelsten 'Fadenende', wo niemand sieht...

MrP
Nur der liebe Gott, der sieht alles....Emotion: smile
Ok, I get that.

In addition, I asked an American penfriend of mine and she told me that the first one is the right, because they would say it so. Who is right now?

I have another one, a similar:
They (live) in London for five years before they (move) here.

I'm not quite sure, but I think so:
They lived in London for five years before they moved here.

Is that correct?

These are the only two sentences I have problems with.
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