What were you doing/ did you do?

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Senior Member
Hi members!

If lunch time just ended and we are in our classroom ready for class to start, I want to know what my friend did during lunch, should I ask:
1.What were you doing at lunch?
2. What did you do at lunch?

I think we normally use past simple here. And using the progressive sounds wrong to me. But I'm not sure why.

What do you think?
  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    I would ask "What did you do at lunch?" if I simply wanted to know how my friend spent his or her lunch period.

    I would ask "What were you doing at lunch?" if I had seen him/her doing something but I couldn't figure out what, or if my friend and I had planned to eat together and he/she hadn't showed up.


    Senior Member
    British English
    You're right, we normally use the simple past.

    You would need additional content for "What were you doing at lunch?" to make sense.

    "What were you doing at lunch? Don't you usually fast on Mondays?"

    Or, "What were you doing at lunch with that group of people? I thought you didn't like them."
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