I am trying to understand what meaning Past Simple carries when it's combined with a period of time. (compared to Past Continuous)

Yesterday I stayed home because it was raining

As I understand, this sentence means that the rain was occuring around the time I made the decision to stay home. And the points when the rain began and stopped are uknown. It might have started 2 days before my decision and ended a week later. 1. Is that assumption correct?

And If we change it to

"Yesterday I stayed home because it rained" (likely incorrect)

It will mean that I stayed home because there was 1 instance of rain somewhere within yesterday. Not necesarrily at the time I was making my decision and as a result this sentence becomes a little absurd in terms of meaning, similar to "It rained in the morning, so at 3 pm I decided to stay home and not go outside"

2. Is that 2nd assumption correct?

3. Does the same logic apply here:

At that party we danced and listened to music

"Somewhere within the timeframe of that party there was 1 or several instances of dancing and listening to music, and they didn't not necessarily last the whole party"

  • 2
    Generally I'd answer yes, yes and yes. On 2, note that it wouldn't sound so horrible or absurd to say something like, "I don't like to go out in the rain, and yesterday it rained, so I stayed home." It's more idiomatic with "it was raining," but people wouldn't overthink it and would understand it to mean the same thing. Or maybe they'd interpret it to mean that it rained at some point, and you thought it might rain again, so you stayed home because you didn't want to take the chance.
    – cruthers
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 15:00
  • 2
    All your assumptions are correct.
    – Pound Hash
    Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 17:49

1 Answer 1


Depending on context, I stayed [at] home because it was raining could mean either "I stayed indoors all day because it was raining all day" or "I decided not to go out because it was raining at the time I would normally have left the house."

  • 1
    And you are talking about the 2nd example ("because it rained"), right? Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 14:24
  • 1
    I have edited my answer to clarify. I stayed [at] home because it rained would probably have the first meaning, otherwise you would say because it rained/was raining at 9.00 (or whenever you would otherwise have left the house). Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 14:35

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