Can someone explain something to me?

Why ‘nest I ddim sometimes and don I ddim other times?

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These are different tenses: you can think of it as ‘I did’ versus ‘I was doing’. If you want to grammar geek, ‘Wnes i…’ is the preterite and ‘o’ n i’ is the imperfect. Google will tell you a lot about this. :smile:

But the example I learned at school which still sticks in my head is: “I was walking along the street when a piano fell on my head”. The walking along the street was an ongoing action so that’s your imperfect, which would be the “o’n I” type past tense. Whereas the painful piano-related incident happened at a point in time and is over. Once it’s walloped you it can’t do it again without magic! So that would be your preterite or your ‘Wnes i’ type past.

With the examples from the course, we see the "o’n i’ with things like wanting or knowing, which are states of mind. They happen over a period of time. Even if they’re temporary states, they were in progress at the time we’re talking about.

Whereas we see the ‘Wnes i’ type past with things like I watched a film, where the watching is done and dusted. You were watching it, but the film’s over now so the watching is complete and you use ‘Wnes i’ to say what you did last night.

Does that help?


That helped me massively, so thanks! And thanks to @sian-vaughan for the question too :slightly_smiling_face:


No problem. Really it’s thanks to Mr Connelly for his memorable piano-related example all those years ago. :smile: I won’t pretend I always get it right in practice, but at least he gifted me a way to remember the basic idea.

Thank you, both for the question and for the excellent answer!

I’ve been trying to ignore my grammar geek and just go with the learning, but every now and again it does really help to have a grammar moment, at least for the way my mind works.

I can’t turn off my grammar geek either. :smile:

I’m working hard not to worry about grammar and to focus on communicating, but also I can’t just not be interested in it, or not think about what I’m hearing in the challenges in light of what I already know.

But I figure that’s OK as long as it’s noticing and reflecting instead of panicking and clamming up.

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Thanks so much for the explanation i wa struggling with this on week 26 refresher!

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I’m relieved to learn I’m not the only grammar geek on here! :joy: A leopard doesn’t change its spots even when it’s learning a new language…

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I am no grammar geek so I just use whichever comes to mind first, if I am wrong I am still understood and I just move on. However The piano falling on your head is a great way to remember (assuming youare conscious of course)

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Great help, thanks Caroline. It had become a constant area for error with me, as well.

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