“Before email, people were writing more letters.”

Toilet HelpReally? And what happened?

Translation: « Avant les courriels, les gens étaient en train d’écrire plus de lettres… »

Why wrong:  The Past Progressive is used for past interruptions, not for repeated actions in the past. We expect to hear about the interruption.  For more information, click here and here.Female Executive

Correct it:  If there was no interruption, but just a repeated past action, say used to.  “Before email, people used to write more letters.”

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“When I was 17, I was making hamburgers.”

WhatReally? And what happened?

Translation: « Quand j’avais 17 ans, j’étais en train de faire des hamburgers… »

Why wrong:  The Past Progressive is used for past interruptions, not for repeated actions in the past. We expect to hear about the interruption.  For more information, click here and here.Verb Tense Chart

Correct it:  If there was no interruption, but just a repeated past action, say used to.  “When I was 17, I used to make hamburgers.”

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