English Grammar

Preterit question

"Kevin. Philip was thinking/thought (10) long and hard. He knew (11) that Kevin would never pay him the money." I would say "was thinking" but the correction imposes "thought". It's sure that preterit is needed but I do not agree with the correction. Could you please explain me what is the correct answer and why ?


  • Your question is worth coming under scrutiny. I suppose, Stephane, that you would use the past continuous because the action is said lasting 'long and hard'. If the intention of the speaker was to insist on the duration of the thought, I wonder whether you wouldn't be right. (as in : While Philip was thinking long and hard, Kevin left the room.) ..../.... But if the thought comes up over the sequence of reported events, the simple past would probably be better. (For example, I'd say : As soon as he lended some quids to Kevin, Philip thought long and hard that he would never be paid back.) Am I right or wrong? Goodness knows!
  • Thank you for explaining my question in a better way. I would still personally prefer "was thinking" as Philip is weighing the pros and cons in that situation. It's obviously an action lasting, isn't it ? That's why I am still questionning the correction suggested. I'm not satisfied with your answer because I think there can't be any hesitation. There would be a conflict of interest from the author if he wanted to describe a succession of reported events using two sentences to insist on one of these actions. (+"long and hard") At least, may I assume that both of the answers are grammatically right ?

    PS : if you could point out the mistakes I make when I write in this forum, it would be lovely. It may entice me writing more in this forum and trying to help other users.
  • Thank you, Stephane, for giving a follow-up to my note. It is probably a question of shade of meaning in the intention of the reporter. Anyway the GymGlish version isn't ever wrong, as far as I have seen until now. But your version might possibly be correct too. Don't forget that you are checked by a robot. For a robot there are only two values of truth, right or wrong.

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