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The quwstion:

The street is wet ( ) it hasn't been raining.
1 while 2 since 3 because 4 even though
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I think the answer should be 4, but I cannot explain well why 1 is not possible.

Does anybody know why?
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Comments  
It is not logical to say that a state of affairs now exists (wet street at this time) during the time that something else has been happening (no rain for some time).

"I am hungry now, while I have been eating a lot these past few days." Emotion: sad

It's easier to detect the dissonance when the tenses are even more incompatible.

"I received a letter yesterday while I will be at work tomorrow." Emotion: sad

For the durational use of "while" you need to coordinate the tenses of the two clauses so that one activity or event takes place completely within the time period of some other activity.

"While I've been recovering from surgery, I've been doing a lot of reading."Emotion: smile
"Someone came to the door while we were having dinner." Emotion: smile
But The American Heritage (and other dictionaries as well) says:

while:

2. although: While the grandparents love the children, they are strict with them.

A friend of mine (a native speaker of English) says "if you said 'while it hasn't been raining, the street is wet' it works. the other way round does sound a bit strange. Sadly, I am going to hide behind the native speaker's defence of 'it sounds' rather than coming up with a sound reason."

Do you have a sound reason for this? Hope you won't hide behid the defence as well. Emotion: smile
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Taka,

I am going to add to CalifJim's response.

Your friend is correct.

I would look at it this way.

contrasting ideas

While something this true, something else has occured. OK structure.

While it has not rained, the street is still wet.

You can't reverse the order.

The street is wet, while it has not rained. (doesn't work)

I believe that you are setting the stage with while. While this part is true, this stuff happened. It is sort of a logical sequence. I don't know how to explain this very well.

Perhaps CalifJim can explain this better.

parallel ideas

While something this true, something else has occured. OK structure.
Something else has occured, while something is true. Ok structure.

While it was raining this afternoon, the streets were wet. Ok

The streets were wet, while it was raining this afternoon. Ok

Summary
Does this help you at all?

MountainHiker
:The street is wet, while it has not rained. (doesn't work)

:I believe that you are setting the stage with while. While this part is true, this stuff happened. It is Emotion: tongue tiedort of a logical sequence. I don't know how to explain this very well.

Logical sequence. An interesting point. But if the logical sequence theory is true, why does "The street is wet, although/though it has not rained" work whereas "The street is wet, while it has not rained" doesn't?

Emotion: big smileoes this help you at all?

Yes. But I would like to have more answers on why "The street is wet, while it has not rained" dosen't work as a sentence of contrasting ideas.

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By the way, how do I make letters Italics, boldface on this forum?
I had a feeling you might be tacitly referring to the "although" reading of "while". That's why I specified "for the durational use of while".

I don't have any good ideas to add to what has already been said about the "although" reading. The line of argumentation that needs to be taken, I think, in order to explain this more thoroughly, is how the word "while" situated between clauses, as in your example, seems to limit the reading of "while" to "during the time that" and has only a forced reading if we attempt to read it as "although". It appears to be simply a property of the placement of the word "while". I don't know of an exact reason.
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When you say "forced reading", doest it mean that it might be possible to interpret it as "although" if we force ourselves to read that way?

Plus, if the sentence were like "The street is wet, while it is not rainy", is it possible to take "while" as "although"?
Taka,
Plus, if the sentence were like "The street is wet, while it is not rainy", is it possible to take "while" as "although"?


No, please refer to my earlier post with contrasting ideas.

If you were to write....

1) The street is wet, while it is not raining.

people would not assume "while" meant "although".

Sentence 1) is a confusing sentence.

If you reverse the order...

2) While it is not raining, the street is wet.

Sentence 2) makes sense. Perhaps, the street cleaner came by and washed the street?

I think when you use "while" as "although" the main clause must follow the subordinate clause.

In other words....

While blah blah blah (subordinate), blah blah blah blah (main).

While this event is happening/state is present, this main idea follows.

I am not positive that my logic is correct, I am being guided by intuition.

Try to think of or find more examples, and we'll look at and dissect those examples too.

Hope this helps.

MountainHiker
Yes, a forced reading is an interpretation that a native speaker would not immediately and instinctively make upon reading or hearing the sentence in question. However, after some discussion and persuasion, and possibly with a very unusual context surrounding the sentence, the native speaker might eventually say,"Well, yes, I suppose I could concede that, in some very rare situations, that interpretation might be possible, but it's certainly not what people usually mean when they say that!"
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