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These are three exercises. According to the page the correct answers have the form:

  • -While- -past progressive-, -past progressive-.

My answers were:

  • -While- -past progressive-, -simple past-.

Question: Are my answers grammatically correct? Because I think both forms can be used to describe two events that occurred simultaneously.

  1. While the children were sleeping, their parents watched TV.

Correct is: While the children were sleeping, their parents were watching TV.

  1. While Henry was having a drink at the bar, his wife swam in the sea.

Correct is: While Henry was having a drink at the bar, his wife was swimming in the sea.

  1. While he was taking a shower, his dogs ate his steaks.

Correct is: While he was taking a shower, his dogs were eating his steaks.

  • You're fine. There is nothing in the sentences that precludes your use of the simple past. – StoneyB Jan 27 at 4:24
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Your answers are fine. I can't think of any rule that mandates that the two (past) tenses need to agree, although some people might think that they do need to and enforce it that way. They probably just overthought it.

If anything, the progressive-progressive combo stresses that the two things happened simultaneously, while the progressive-simple just says that one thing happened as another thing happened (not as much emphasis). Either are grammatically valid, at least according to me.

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