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The speaker is saying (https://youtu.be/nhTcuUvLGOE?t=464)

The best way to practice is to record yourself speaking. You could record yourself answering these two questions. Then, listen to yourself.

I feel that the sentence highlighted is not grammatical, then I rewrite it as the following

You could record yourself when your are answering these two questions.

or

You could record your answers to these two questions.

Is my understanding right?

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  • It is grammatical. The phrase "answering these two questions" is a participle phrase used as an adjective, qualifying "yourself". So "You could record yourself" is extended to "You could record yourself answering these two questions." Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 9:20
  • @WeatherVane, I'm a bit confused. In my mind "answering these two questions" does not qualify "yourself" because it does not describe "yourself," it does not tell anything additional about "yourself." The sentence says: "You could record yourself while answering these two questions." If I accept your explanation, then I would think the sentence says: "You could record yourself by answering these two questions." which doesn't work. I agree that "while" may be omitted, not sure, though.
    – Jan
    Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 9:46
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    @Jan I don't see the word "while" in the question. The phrase "answering these two questions" describes (adds information) in the same way as the difference between "watch me" and "watch me eating." Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 9:48

1 Answer 1

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The original sentence

You could record yourself answering these two questions.

may be grammatically correct but you could add the conjunction "while" and say:

You could record yourself while answering these two questions.

You use while for ongoing actions and when for actions that occurred at a specific point in time.

The difference between when and while (from another ELL SE answer):

The main difference between these two words is that when usually means at or immediately after some specific point in time, whereas while always means during some [usually, extended] period of time.

Here's another example from Pearson English:

Before we realized it, we saw a deer running across the road.

but you can add "while" before an incomplete action:

Before we realized it, we saw a deer while it was running across the road.

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  • Your answer is very helpful. Thank you. Is the absence of * while* also grammatical? I guess not in writing but acceptable in speaking, right?
    – WXJ96163
    Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 9:39
  • @WXJ96163, as explained in the comment under your question, in this case, "while" can be omitted, so the original sentence is still correct. I'm not saying you can always omit "while" but sometimes you can - it depends on the context.
    – Jan
    Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 10:05

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