I know that we use past simple for repeated actions for instance: 'when I was little I went to that school' or 'I worked in that firm for three years' and saying 'I was working in that firm for three years' when I just want to state a fact. Is that wrong or not?

I also know that saying 'when I was working she came to me', this past continuous is justified because it creates the background. What about 'when I was working for three years she came to me'. Is using past continuous here justified too for background information?

  • Please leave some space between sentences some of those sentences.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 13 at 21:35
  • 2
    What do you intend the sentence to mean? 'During the three years that I worked there' or 'After I had worked there for three years'? Commented Jan 14 at 9:14

1 Answer 1


The first sentence is close, and would work if you were talking about a pet, whose action of "coming" was significant, but the qualifier usually goes last, as in: "she came to me while I was working" "she came to me whenever I was working"

For a person, you'd want to elaborate on why she came to you, as in: "she came to see me while I was working" "she came to talk to me while I was working"

For time related qualifiers, it's a bit different: "she came to talk to me after I had been working for three years" "she came to see me after I had been at the office for an hour" "she came to see me just after I got to the office"

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