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a. The songs playing in the background were composed by Bob.
b. The songs played in the bacground were composed by Bob.

I want to know which sentence is correct. Some say 'playing' is right but some say 'played' is right (we are not natives). Sometimes it is confusing for us (non native) to use '~ing', or '~ed' forms.

So, what is correct? or both are possible? I'm really confused by this question. I would be pleased if I got the answer. Anyway, thank you for reading this post.

2 Answers 2

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Both sentences are possible and correct, but might be used for different contexts

1) The songs playing in the background were composed by Bob.
2) The songs played in the background were composed by Bob.

Both sentences talk about the background music
#1 sets the scene while the music was playing
#2 sets the scene after the music played.

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  • But it's possible to say the 2nd sentence while the music was playing right? Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 11:02
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These sentences are both correct but have different tenses. The first sentence is present tense because of the word playing - while the second is past tense because played is past tense.

PS to make the second sentence easier to read - put 'that' played in the background.

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  • Not necessarily though. If you are putting extra words in anyway, the sentence "The songs that were playing .." would have the same sense as "The songs that were played ..".
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 18:22

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