13.3.4 stare + gerundio

It seems that there is a real need for the human brain to have the possibility to describe an action / event in the process of happening because more or less every language has a special form for that and languages who don' t have special forms for that, like german, start to create new forms in order to be able to do it.

  French: J' étais en train de manger quand tout d'un coup on frappa à la porte.
Spanish: Estaba comiendo cuando de repente tocaron a la puerta.
  Italian: Stavo mangiando quando di colpo bussarano alla porto.
  English: I was eating, when suddenly someone knocked at the door.
  German: Ich aß gerade, als es plötzlich plötzlich an der Tür klopfte.

Italian, French, Spanish and English can distinguish between the description of a state in the past and an action / event in the process of happening.

  English: Description of a state in simple past. The embedded action is described in the simple past as well.  
1) It was dark, when he arrived.  
  The action in the process of happening is described with the continuous form, the embedded action in the simple past / past perfect.  
  2) He was reading a book, when suddenly someone knocked at the door.  
  French: Description of a state in the past in imparfait. The embedded action is described in passé simple / passé composé  
  1) Il faisait nuit quand il arriva.  
  French: The action in the process of happening is described with être + en train de + infinitive. The embedded action in the passé simple / passé composé  
  2) Il était en train de lire un livre, quand tout d' un coup on frappa à la porte.  
  Spanish: Description of a state in the imperfecto. The embedded action in the indefinido.  
  1) Hacía noche, cuando llegó.  
  Spanish: The action in the process of happening is described with estar + gerundio. The embedded action in the indefinido  
  2) Estaba leyendo un libro, cuando de repente tocaron a la puerta.  
  Italian: Description of a state in the imperfetto. The embedded action in the passato remoto / passato prossimo  
  1) Faceva notte quando arrivò.
  Italian: The action in the process of happening is described with stare + gerundio. The embedded action in the indefinido  
  2) Stava leggendo un libro quando di colpo bussarono alla porta.
  German: The description of a state in the past is without adverb  
  1) Es dunkelte bereits, als er ankam.  
  German: The action in the process of happening is described with an adverb.  
  2) Er las gerade ein Buch, als es an der Tür klopfte.  





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