The expensive shops in a famous arcade near Piccadilly were just opening. At this time of the morning, the arcade was almost empty.

I think it means the shops were about to open very soon, but the translation in my book says it means the shops just opened. Is the translation wrong?

  • 4
    Actually it's means what it says. The shops were in the process of opening, and may or may not actually be open. Either way it doesn't make a difference to the writer's point, that the arcade was empty of customers because of the early hour. If it was important to be clear that the shops had opened, the writer would have used that instead.
    – Andrew
    Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 6:36
  • 3
    Note that not all shops unlock their doors exactly at the same time. The image I get from this phrase is that some shops had already opened, and others might have the proprietors bustling around inside, preparing for opening, but their doors weren't quite unlocked yet. That is, as a whole, the shops on the street were in the middle of an extended time period of opening. Commented Mar 9, 2018 at 15:37

1 Answer 1


As @Andrew points out, it means

The shops near Picadilly were just opening
The shops near Picadilly were just opening up for business for the day

The passengers were just arriving at their destination.
The passengers very recently arrived st their destination

"just" emphasizes the recentness of the action. An equivalent might be

The shops near Picadilly had just opened

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