1. In my previous organisation we were not doing so much of work.
  2. In my previous organisation we would not do so much of work.

Do both the sentences mean the same thing or there is any difference?

And also what is meaning of the sentence below?

"We had not been doing so much of work in our previous organisation"

  • what's your take on these sentences?
    – Maulik V
    May 3, 2014 at 17:34
  • were not doing... refers to a particular time or event of work. would not do... refers to habit or regular practice. had not been doing sounds a bit off to me :(
    – Maulik V
    May 3, 2014 at 18:00
  • 1
    You would say "so much work", not "so much of work". Though you could say "so much of their work".
    – user3169
    May 3, 2014 at 18:41
  • 1
    All of those sound kind of wrong to me. I'd go with "In my previous organization, we didn't do so much work."
    – Joe Z.
    May 3, 2014 at 19:37

4 Answers 4


As mentioned in a comment, you have a problem with that of.

  1. In my previous organisation we were not doing so much work.
  2. In my previous organisation we would not do so much work.

Sentence 1 strongly implies "actually, we worked very little" or "we didn't work as much as this", while 2 means "if we were asked to do this, we wouldn't have done as much work on it as you/we/they are doing now" or possibly, "in comparative situations, we did not do as much work on it as you/we/they are doing now."

Honestly, on a gut check level, as a native speaker, my first roguish thought was Sentence 1 is the one you use to insult your previous job. ("We were worthless lazy slackers.") Sentence 2 is the one you use to insult your present job. ("You guys are working too hard. There's a much easier way to do it.")


It is better to use the past tense, or "use to", when referring to a past habit or past situation.Example:In my previous organization we didn't do or we didn't use to do much work. The past continuous is used to describe an action which was in progress at a stated time, so it is not appropiate here.Example:"At seven o'clock yesterday evening we were working." The second sentense is correct, since "would", like "used to" is used to describe repeated actions or routines in the past. The third sentence is wrong, since the past perfect continuous is used to put emphasis on the duration of an action that started and finished in the past before another past action or a state time in the past.Example:"They had been working hard before they won the lottery." Be careful: "so much work",not "so much of work"


In my previous organisation we were not doing so much of work. In my previous organisation we would not do so much of work.

The first sentence states a fact saying that you did not do much work, the sentence written in the continuous form to show that this lack of working went on for a while, because it is a continuous progress.

The second sentence suggests that you refused to do so much work even further emphasized by the usage of the word so to magnify the amount of the work. Also the second sentence, in my opinion could mean this:

In my previous organisation we didn't use to do so much work, because would can be used in the same way as used to to talk about events that used to happen in the past again and again. Would or wouldn't can also imply refusing to do something e.g:I won't get up= I don't want to get up/ I refuse to get up.

The very last 3rd sentence is a past perfect which can be used in the same way as the present perfect: have been doing, have been, only in the past when talking about the past.

Compare: Present We have been walking for hours, I want to rest, but the walk leader won't let us have a break.

We had been walking for hours, I wanted to rest but the walk leader wouldn't let us have a break.


All three sentences are radically different in the contexts in which they can be used. For a full explanation you would need to consult an English grammar. Here are some main differences. I am eliminating the "do" to make this examples easier to understand.

In my previous organisation we would not work much. One day the mailman came with a new package...

Here the use of the 'would' construction indicates that the action described is habitual or continuous. This construction is used when describing persistent background conditions in which other events happen.

We were not working much when the large order finally came in.

Here the past progressive tense is used because "doing" is describing an action that is pictured as in progress at a particular point in time when another action happens. The important part is the fact that it is in progress.

Finally, the 'had' version is less common and usually interchangeable in modern English with the previous tense. However, modern English still strongly prefers the 'had' version when the focus is on the length of time the action has been in progress or the change that is caused by a second, later action.

For example, to paraphrase from Wikipedia,

I had been working on my novel when she entered the room to talk to me.

implies that I stopped working when she came in (or had already stopped a short time before); the plain past progressive (I was working...) would not necessarily carry this implication.

As I said, an advanced English grammar will describe this in much greater detail and precision. Wikipedia has some information here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Past_perfect_progressive#Past_perfect_progressive

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