I'm working as IT support engineer. one of my clients phoned me last week and explained to me a problem that he had on one of our applications that we support.

then he sent me an email and the following is the first sentence:

Kindly find below the screenshot of the application I was talking about. The issue is as follows:

I'm wondering is the above correct use of past continuous, I think the simple past is better in this context, isn't it?

Kindly find below the screenshot of the application I told you about.

  • Using "I told you" might come across as condescending, depending on the relationship between the parties. Something like when a mother tells her children "I told you to take off your shoes before coming inside." I would avoid it in a formal business situation. – user3169 Apr 5 '17 at 2:19

The sentence you received with I was talking about is perfectly idiomatic. The past continuous there refers obliquely to your earlier conversation in which he described the problem. It bears the added nuance that now you have in hand something which will help you to understand my earlier words more completely.

As you say, "phoned ... then he sent me an email".

Compared to the simple past told, the continuous was telling puts a little extra emphasis on the durational act of telling, as distinct from an incident without duration. Thus, it might be paraphrased "as I assume you do remember from our recent conversation, which should not yet have shrunk down to a mere dot in your mind" as might well happen with the passage of time. With time, you might remember only that you two had spoken but not the conversation.

The continuous implies that the speaker fully expects this matter to be fresh in your mind. He expects you to remember the conversation. For that reason, the simple past is not better.

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