Yesterday I posted this message on an online forum:

I've fixed that bug while I was reviewing the code.

But I'm not sure it's correct. I understand that I was reviewing the code is a finished event and the act of fixing the bug is finished as well, but its consequences affect the present (something is now working because a bug no longer exists).

Is my reasoning correct or should I always use simple past when I was doing something is in the same sentence (or context)?

  • 2
    The addition of the while clause means you need simple past: I fixed that bug while I was reviewing the code By itself, "I've fixed that bug" is fine, however. – Jim Mar 15 '15 at 17:44
  • @Jim So in this case it doesn't matter if the past event still affects the present, right? – Michael Benford Mar 15 '15 at 18:58
  • I'm no grammarian - but I'd consider it in 2 'envelopes'... 'while I was there' - past tense envelope, containing 'I fixed it' - present tense envelope; living forever as a captured moment inside the past tense envelope. – gone fishin' again. Mar 15 '15 at 20:52

Better use the past simple and the past continuous tenses in the sentence. The past continuous describes a longer, ‘background’ action and the past simple describes a short action. The correct sentence is:

I fixed the bug while I was reviewing the code.

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