When we use " While "


Hello, I'm Japanese who is learning English !!    My friends asked me whether there is any difference between " While he is singing a song,  I was seeing stars" and " While he is singing a song, I saw stars."   The reason why she and I were confused was due to  Japanese translaion..... because the text book says" I saw stars " in this sentence means I was watching stars .  so We don't need to say "  was seeing stars " ?????/ we wonder it is correct or not. Please give us any hints !!

asked Aug 01 '13 at 13:18 Iku New member

1 answer


Both of your sentences have errors in tense agreement between the verbs. I'm guessing that the 'seeing stars' part is a figurative allusion to being enthralled (very happy with) the music.


The past progressive tense would in both clauses would be correct in the first sentence.

While he was singing a song,  I was seeing stars.


In your  second sentence, you could use past progressive plus past tense or past tense in both clauses.

While he was singing a song, I saw stars.

While he sang a song, I saw stars.


The main thing to remember is to keep both verbs in the same time frame, the past in this case.

link answered Aug 01 '13 at 13:45 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow

Dear Lewis

Thanks for helping me. May I have last question to you ?? I'm still confused. I'm sorry for my English level , but I'm glad if you give me one more hint! While he was singing a song, I was seeing stars. and While he was singing a song, I saw stars. Is there any difference meaning beween them ?? Thanks !

IkuAug 02 '13 at 13:33

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