the people who were bullying me then, now come up to me at parties and ask me how I am

Fbohn21

Senior Member
Deutsch
Hello.


I am wondering when a process becomes a habit.

In this scenario:

You know what's funny, the people who were bullying me in the past, now come up to me at parties and ask me how I am and pretend nothing has ever happened.

I know that if I used "who bullied me" I´d either be referring to a habit or a one-off action, so how do I know when something is still a habit and when it is a process that was ongoing in the past?
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I was in the process of writing the same thing. And of course, if you do say “used to bully me”, “in the past” becomes redundant. The present perfect would need to be changed too.
     

    Fbohn21

    Senior Member
    Deutsch
    Oh sorry, I get you explanation, what I actually wanted to ask was:

    How can I differentiate between a habit in the past and something that was happening over a period of time.


    In this case:

    The people who bullied me--> as in the people bullied me regularly in the past.

    The people who were bullying me in the past--> the people were bullying me for some time in the past.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The people who were bullying me in the past are being nice to me now. :tick:

    It’s not very natural, but it’s the only sort of construction that justifies that use of a continuous tense, I think.

    “For some time” is not implied.
     

    Fbohn21

    Senior Member
    Deutsch
    I was wondering because I had read an article that said the following, in the article she gives advice on how to be the best version of yourself:

    #Be ready for retaliation.

    The people who retaliate to your changes are almost always the people who were manipulating and using you which lead to your low self-esteem in the first place.

    Now this is where I get confused. If I said "manipulated and used", one could that they did it one time so how could it lead to me feeling worthless, but they were actually doing it for a while. Now if "manipulated and used" was interpreted as a habit then it would work, wouldn't it?

    As in:

    (....) the people who manipulated and used you, which lead to your low self-esteem.

    or is the past progressive more suitable because it zooms in on me being manipulated and used?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Quite apart from the strange concept of retaliating to a change, that sentence is cumbersome, has no punctuation and contains a common spelling error, so the writer clearly does not have a particularly good grasp of English. It’s not worth discussing as an example.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    There’s no obvious reason to use the continuous.

    But you might say:

    … the very people who were responsible for manipulating and using you, which was what led to your low self-esteem in the first place.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Why would you think that I recommended the simple past if it meant one single incident?
    Meaning is conveyed byated context, by using adverbs and also by the meaning of the words themselves.'Bullying' means repeactions. 'Attack' doesn't.
     
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