I have a question about using "when I did ..." and "when I was doing ..." in a certain sentence.

When you are talking about a currently busy store that you worked at several years ago, are both of these sentences appropriate?

Business used to be slower when I worked at the store.

Business used to be slower when I was working at the store.

I think both "when I worked ..." and "when I was working ..." are fine if the sentence begins with "Business was slower ..." but I don't know if they are fine when you use "used to be" in the sentence instead of "was."

  • 3
    Yes, both your sentences are fine. Aug 13, 2021 at 11:44
  • 1
    Does this answer your question? Difference between Past continuous and Past perfect continuous
    – Riolku
    Aug 13, 2021 at 13:31
  • The question is about past continuous versus simple past, not past perfect continuous, so unlikely
    – gotube
    Aug 13, 2021 at 14:45
  • @Riolku The question seems different from mine (my question wasn't about past perfect continuous). Thanks for the suggestion.
    – Sanda
    Aug 13, 2021 at 14:49
  • 1
    I think that on average it would be stylistically weak to use a past continuous verb form after "used to be" (as an alternative to using Simple Past). Purely because "used to be" tends to place greater "distance" between speaker and the past circumstances/actions being referenced (so it's often used when contrasting the past with the present). On the other hand, the past continuous generally has the opposite effect, because speaker is often trying to "immerse" his audience in some past activity or circumstance - effectively "merging" past into present. But syntactically it's fine Aug 13, 2021 at 16:42


Browse other questions tagged .