...people <were actively trying> <actively tried> to bring an end...

Makel Leki

From ReadTheory:
Imagine a mythical beast rising before you on two legs that end in cloven hooves. Sharp, curled horns and pointed ears sit atop its head, while a long tongue lolls out of a mouth that seems perpetually frozen in a sinister smile.
The legend of Krampus has its roots in Germanic folklore and was popularized in Central European countries such as Austria, Hungary, and Slovenia during the seventeenth century.
By the mid-twentieth century, however, people were actively trying to bring an end to perpetuating the story of Krampus.
What's the difference between "were trying" and "tried"? Could we use the latter?

I think "were trying" here implies that when the first year of the mid-twentieth century came around, people were already trying to bring an end to perpetuating the story. But I wonder if "tried" is possible.
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    were actively trying indicates that, at the time referred to, people were actively involved in
    to bring an end to..."' "They had not stopped trying to..."

    "people actively tried to bring an end to..." this indicates a completed action: each time they tried, they stopped. They had tried, but had stopped at the time referred to. There might have been many individual instance of people who tried to do this.

    See having stolen vs stealing

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