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Adele's song says: "It burned while I cried". For me, I learned that I should use past continuous after while or past simple after when. so the sentence should be eighter "It burned while I was crying" or "It burned when I cried". The sentence with when doesn't really make sense for me so I think they should use the sentence with while but with the past continuous tense. What's the difference in meaning between the sentence in the song and my sentence?

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  • I wouldn't take grammatical lessons from Adele.
    – Leachoid
    Mar 12 at 18:08
  • @Leachoid Is it just slang or completely wrong? Mar 12 at 18:09

1 Answer 1

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There's nothing wrong with using past tense like this. It is common and correct to say

I played with my phone while he watched TV.

There is no grammatical requirement to use a past continuous with while.

Using "past while past" suggests that the two activities occurred at the same time whereas "past while past-continuous" would suggest that the first event started and finished during the time of the other activity.

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