Let's say I ask someone what did you do yesterday and they answer with I read a book yesterday. Does that mean they read the book till the end? If so, then how do I say that I read a book, but I didn't finish it?

  • 1
    If the book is unfinished (or was started on a previous day) you can say "I was reading a book yesterday." Feb 19, 2020 at 19:33
  • @Weather Vane Can "I was reading a book yesterday" be used by itself, without something else happening at the same time?
    – anouk
    Jan 8, 2022 at 13:22
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    @anouk you can say "I was reading a book yesterday." But if there was no preceding question such as "What were you doing yesterday?" and no follow-up like "...so I forgot to go shopping" there wouldn't be much point. People would look at you as much as to say "So?" Jan 8, 2022 at 14:43
  • @Weather Vane So it is not necessary that something else is happening at the same time like: "I was reading a book yesterday when the phone rang"?
    – anouk
    Jan 8, 2022 at 18:19
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    It isn't necessary, it is a grammatically correct sentence but on it's own doesn't mean much. As I wrote, what would be the point of saying "I was reading a book yesterday" with nothing else forming a conversation? Jan 8, 2022 at 18:20

1 Answer 1


I have asked this question too and you will probably get different answers. As far as I know "I read a book yesterday" means you read the entire book. You could say: "I did some reading yesterday", "I read a book for a while, an hour, etc." or "I read a few pages or chapters", something like that. I prefer "I did some reading".

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