When I used to smoke...

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GeogeHalin

Senior Member
Japanese
Let's discuss.

I know we say "I used to smoke when I was in college."

But do we say "I was very skinny when I used to smoke.", if I want to mean I used to smoke in the past, and at that
time, I was skinny. ??
It sounds stange to me but I couldn't tell how.

What's wrong?
Please help! Thanks.
 
  • jexrry_nam

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    Interesting..I'd also like to know.

    However,I personally think that I was skinny when I was still a smoker will also be okay without changing any meaning:)

    Waiting for native speaks to resolve it is the best solution
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    Yeah....

    "I was _______ when I used to do _______" just sounds wrong. I'm not saying "I was skinny when I used to smoke" is incorrect, but it doesn't sound natural to me.

    I was skinny back when I smoked.
    I used to smoke and I was skinny then.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    It doesn't make sense to me.
    "I used to smoke." I smoked and then I stopped.
    I was skinny when (I smoked and then I stopped).
    No, I was skinny while I was smoking. "When I smoked" is a specific time/duration. "When (I smoked and now I don't anymore)" isn't.
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    It doesn't make sense to me.
    "I used to smoke." I smoked and then I stopped.
    I was skinny when (I smoked and then I stopped).
    No, I was skinny while I was smoking. "When I smoked" is a specific time/duration. "When (I smoked and now I don't anymore)" isn't.
    THANK YOU! This is exactly what I thought, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    It makes sense to me: "I was very skinny when I used to smoke = "I was very skinny during the period that I was smoking."

    Compare with "I was very athletic when I was young/in China" = "I was very athletic during the period that I was young/in China."
     

    GeogeHalin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Do we say: "I was skinny while I was smoking." as Myridon suggested?
    What's the difference between this and "I used to smoke and I was skinny then."?
    Do they mean the same?

    Please explain.

    Thank you so much.
     
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