Did you ignore / Were you ignoring / Had you had been ignoring

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hesitate

Banned
Serbian
Hi,

Did you ignore all the thoughts for 2 weeks before it disappeared?
Were you ignoring all the thoughts for 2 weeks before it disappeared?
Had you been ignoring all the thoughts for 2 weeks before it disappeared?

Are all these interchangeable? If not, what's the difference between them? Thanks.
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don't understand what you mean by 'all the thoughts'. It's not something we would say. Perhaps if you supplied some context it might be easier to undersatnd and suggest which of the versions you offer might be the best.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    With the additional information that you are talking about obsessive–compulsive disorder, the sentence does make sense. Without that context, it is odd to talk about ignoring thoughts as a way of making something go away, as heypresto says.

    Please include enough context so that people will know why you are saying something. Then people can be helpful, which is what they want to be.
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    OK, thanks for pointing that out. 'All the thoughts' is still not English - maybe 'these thoughts' would be better? 'Did you ignore these thoughts for 2 weeks before it disappeared?' But what does 'it' refer to?

    As for interchangeability, they are all as viable as each other, they simply differ slightly in tense. That is why some context would help.
     

    hesitate

    Banned
    Serbian
    Let's say someone had OCD and ignored intrusive thoughts for two weeks before they disappeared. What would the difference be in that case?
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    OK, so 'it' refers to the thoughts? Let's therefore change 'it' to 'they'. Given that we now know that they had ignored these thoughts for two weeks before they disappeared, the first variation would be the most appropriate one to use, as it uses the same tense. 'They ignored - did you ignore?

    The other variations ask the same question, but as I said earlier, they just ask it using a different tense.
     

    hesitate

    Banned
    Serbian
    Will the question sound odd if I use the second and third question?
    ___________
    You were waiting there for 2 hours when she finally arrived. - Incorrect.

    Then why can we say: Were you waiting there for 2 hours before she arrived? ?
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    No, it wouldn't sound odd (if you made the corrections I've suggested). They are perhaps not so easy to understand and answer, as they are not so direct. But they are not 'wrong'.

    I suggested the first one (with corrections) because it asks the question in the same tense as the information you supplied was in. And, equally importantly, because it's simple and direct.
     
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