Everyday last week my aunt was breaking a plate.

Is the tense correct in this sentence?

This is the answer my teacher gave. Could someone tell me why "was breaking" is used here?

  • 4
    Your teacher is almost certainly not a native speaker. There's nothing grammatically wrong with the sentence, but it's an extremely unlikely thing to say. The most likely meaning would be that the aunt spent time (unsuccessfully) trying to break the same plate every day, no matter how weird that is at the level of semantics. If she's been (successfully) breaking a different plate every day, you'd say "Every day last week my aunt broke a plate". Oct 7, 2014 at 13:07
  • She said something like.. Everyday s meant to be continuous so was breaking.. But what you said also makes sense.. Oct 7, 2014 at 13:11
  • 1
    You could say, "My aunt was breaking plates [plural] and spilling glasses all last week; she was a real terror in the kitchen."
    – TimR
    Oct 7, 2014 at 13:12
  • 1
    You can't use continuous action because each day was a discrete day. Also, "Everyday" is incorrect. It should be "Every day". "Everyday" is an adjective.
    – TimR
    Oct 7, 2014 at 13:15

2 Answers 2


The website is complaining about "extended discussions in comments" so I will do this as an answer.

I was going to English classes all summer.

I went to an English class each day this summer.

Do you understand why the single word "Everyday" cannot be used? It is an adjective and must modify a noun. It means "not unusual, common, quotidien".

Rain is an everyday thing during the monsoon.

"Every day" on the other hand is a temporal phrase that means "On each day".

So it does affect the tense. You need a simple past to represent an action that took place at a discrete time (each day).

Whereas "all last week" would mean "continuously throughout the week" and then you could use "was breaking".

ADDENDUM: To answer the question posed in the comment, Is there any problem if the "was going" is replaced by 'went' and vice versa?

Yes, there is a problem if we replace "was going" with "went".

INCORRECT: I was going to an English class each day this summer.

Why is it incorrect? Because of "each day".

Each morning last summer, I awoke at sunrise.

INCORRECT: Each morning last summer, I was awaking at sunrise.

CORRECT: Last summer, I was awaking at sunrise, but these days I feel quite tired, and am unable to get out of bed earlier than 7AM.

  • Isn't everyday the synonym for all... Oct 7, 2014 at 13:34
  • Could you explain it a little more... In the sentences which u gave.. Is there any problem if the "was going" is replaced by 'went' and vice versa Oct 7, 2014 at 13:37
  • 1
    It might be helpful to look at the definition of "everyday", which is a word that is distinct in meaning from the two words "every" and "day".
    – ColleenV
    Oct 7, 2014 at 13:53
  • "Everyday" (one word) is NOT a synonym for all; it is an adjective that means "ordinary". See this definition: merriam-webster.com/dictionary/everyday
    – TimR
    Oct 7, 2014 at 15:57

Everyday last week my aunt was breaking a plate

"was breaking" is repeating.

Well, implied repeatedly or a new each day, yet the sentence is correct. I'd like to hear the situation here, maybe the teacher is not as foreign as it seems.

  • 1
    Please take the site tour and review the help center before proceeding further. This is a Q&A site, not a discussion forum, and has particular guidelines and conventions for participation.
    – choster
    Oct 7, 2014 at 19:00

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