confusion between two altogether different actions of past.

germanictamoon

Senior Member
Hindi (West Uttar Pradesh)
My mother tongue is Hindi/Urdu[lingua franca of India].In Hindi we have several types of actions in past tense.I shall categorise these past actions in the following way,
[A].instant past: In which an action is for that time being in the past.It has nothing to do with previous and next actions of same or different kind.I think,this is generally represented by past indefinite tense in English.For instance,
1.''He called me''.I think the caller is intended to call for that time being in the past.
2.''He lifted the book from the ground''.I think it is intended to say that the book was on the ground and the subject just lifted it .
Are afoersaid thoughts of me correct?
An action that was continued for some time in the past.But in english this is also represnted by past indefinite tense and here i become confused.I give example of it.These lines are from Readers Digest magazine,''she picked cotton for a few dollars a day.And when that work was gone,she stripped long rows of sugar cane,picked tomatoes and picked up pecans.''
In Hindi this can be understood in two differnt ways.i explain first way[which falls under B category and as far as i think the author is intended to say the same way].She also then started and continued it to pick cotton for a few dollars a day.And when that work was temporarily not available she then started to strip long rows of sugar cane............''
the second way:she picked the cotton for that time being in the past and she continued it or not we cannot say anything about it.
I think this sentence should be represented by habitual action expressed by 'would' and 'used to' in english.
please guide me.I often becomes highly confused.please also explain the real meaning of the sentence,''she picked cotton..............''what the author really intended to say?
 
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    ''she picked cotton for a few dollars a day.And when that work was gone,she stripped long rows of sugar cane,picked tomatoes and picked up pecans.''
    I believe the simple past tense is a legitimate and neutral way of describing habitual/repetitive past and see nothing wrong with its use here. :)

    In my opinion, "would" and "used to" will be used where the past action takes place over an extended period of time.

    As a child, I used to like lemonade, but now I can't stand the look of it.
    I remember those long, hot summer days in my youth when the streets of my town would get virtually deserted...

    I believe "would" and "used to" sound more natural used like that??
     
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