Don't disturb him when he <goes><is going> fishing.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by KYC, Jan 6, 2009.

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  1. KYC Senior Member

    Mandarin
    Hi there:
    I would like to ask a question about grammar.

    In the sentence below , I wonder which is right ?or are both correct?
    1. Don't disturb him when he is going fishing.
    2 Don't distub him when he goes fishing.

    Could you clarify it for me?
    i am confused by it.:confused:
    Thanks a lot!
     
  2. Franzi Senior Member

    Astoria, NY
    (San Francisco) English
    Both sound awkward to me. Both would mean that you should not disrupt his preparations for a fishing trip. Is this what you want to say? I assume that what you actually want to say is something like:

    Don't disturb him while he's fishing.
     
  3. lelis83

    lelis83 Member

    Argentina Español
    Hi!!!
    I would say that the second sentence is more apropiate since in many grammar books you'll find that "when" is used with the present simple tense
     
  4. KYC Senior Member

    Mandarin
    Thanks for Franzi's clarification.
    That is the question I feel confused.
    I wonder if I may say
    When S +be +Ving, S+be+ Ving.
    Sorry,I don't have a context.

    But I am confused by the quesiton of grammar that may I say When S +be +Ving,

    Hopefully, native speakers can be out to clarify it for me.
    I would be very appreciated.
     
  5. Franzi Senior Member

    Astoria, NY
    (San Francisco) English
    Ok, I understand your question now. It would be ok to say something like:

    "You shouldn't disturb her when she's studying."

    I prefer 'while' to 'when' in this context, but 'when' also sounds ok.

    It's also ok to say something like: "When she was living in France, I was living in Germany."
     
  6. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    There's a difference between:

    Don't disturb her when she is studying and don't disturb her when she studies.

    Don't disturb her when she is studying puts the stress on not disturbing her during the time when she's studying.

    Don't disturb her when she studies puts the stress on not disturbing her when she studies, as opposed to doing other things. One may find that other simple presents in the vicinity make this simple present what one chooses. For instance: 'She studies some afternoons and plays tennis on others; don't disturb her when she studies'.

    Don't disturb her when she is studying sounds more natural in most circumstances, and changing when to while, as Franzi suggests, stresses the continuous nature of her study, and, perhaps, the need, therefore, not to disturb her.
     
  7. El intérprete Senior Member

    US
    US English
    Good morning, KYC. If I had to choose one over the other, I'd say the second sentence is more correct, althought neither one sounds good to my ears. As Franzi said, "Don't disturb him while he's fishing." sounds normal and correct. I also agree with Franzi's examples. Sentences such as these are common and grammatically correct:

    I am studying when you are sleeping.
    She is working when he is playing.
     
  8. KYC Senior Member

    Mandarin
    Thanks for all of your clarifications.
    Thanks a lot!
    So it's not always to say when + present simple tense, is it?
    I may say when S+ be + ving, S+ be + Ving or
    When S + be + Ving, present simple tense
    ,may I ?
    Thanks again!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
  9. lelis83

    lelis83 Member

    Argentina Español
    When he was watching TV, his friend call him.

    I think this sentence seems ok, taking into account Thomas Tompion explanation of When and While...right?? :)

    From grammar books to actual use there seems to be a huge gap! :confused:
     
  10. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    I suspect you are confusing the when + simple present with a future force -

    When you see him, tell him to come home. - in the future when you happen to see him, tell him to come home.
    When he studies, don't disturb him - in the future when you happen to find him studying, don't disturb him.

    with when + present continuous which has a different force -

    When he is studying, don't disturb him. - during the periods that he is studying, don't disturb him.

    To get the future force with when, you need to use the simple present, not the present continuous, and I think that has caused you problems, KYC.

    When you see him, tell him to come home - the seeing is going to be in the future.

    Don't say when you are seeing him, tell him to come home to have this future force.
     
  11. Franzi Senior Member

    Astoria, NY
    (San Francisco) English
    I would say, "His friend called him when he was watching tv." (Actually, I would prefer 'while' here, but 'when' is ok too.)

    There's always a gap between a grammar book and actual speech. For one thing, grammar books leave out colloquial usages; for another, they discuss one pattern at a time, which is not how native speakers think when looking at an example sentence.
     
  12. KYC Senior Member

    Mandarin
    Thanks for all of your answers.
    I am so touched for your help!!!
    So is it right grammatically if I say
    When he was working ,his mom came in.
    (According to the grammar book, I should say
    He was working when his mom came in.)
    But I think that I can say it after reading all of your clarifications.
    Could you verify it for me ?Thanks a lot!!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
  13. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    Both are correct, KYC. The emphases are different. They would be answers to different questions: I've put the questions with each.

    When he was working his mom came in. - what happened when he was working?

    He was working when his mom came in. - what was he doing when his mom came in?
     
  14. KYC Senior Member

    Mandarin
    Thanks for Thomas Tompion's clarification for me.
    I can't grasp what the future force is.I can't find it in my dictionary after lookiing it up.
    But from your clarification, I suspect that I can say
    When he come, give the gift to him.Rather than When he is coming, give the gift to him.
    Did I grasp it ?
    Could you rephrase it?
    Thanks again!
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
  15. Franzi Senior Member

    Astoria, NY
    (San Francisco) English
    Some uses of 'when' are like 'while'. Some uses of 'when' refer to the future. "When you see her, please tell her..." is a request that you do something in the future. This 'when' is not the same as 'while'.
     
  16. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    I have great sympathy with you, KYC, because tenses are not only unfamiliar but they are sometimes contradictory, and difficult even, say, for French people who are used to languages which use tenses.

    When + simple present is one way in English of referring to the future.

    You are sitting in your house. You decide to go and join your brother in a bar. When you are leaving the house (as you are leaving) your mom shouts to you, 'When you see him, tell him to come home'.

    Clearly your seeing him is in the future. Yet she says, correctly, 'when you see him' to instruct you what to do at that future moment.
     
  17. KYC Senior Member

    Mandarin
    Thanks for your clarification!
    I am clear now. So
    I think I can say it after grasping what you meant.Could you check it for me?
    Thanks a lot!
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
  18. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    Well done, KYC! The mistake with come for comes is important, but the great thing is that you've got the tense right.

    You are right; you mustn't say: When he is coming, give the gift to him if you want that future force.
     
  19. KYC Senior Member

    Mandarin
    Thanks to all of you for your help!
    I am clear.:)
    Thanks again!
     
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