L'Imparfait vs "être(L'imparfait) en train de + infinitive

KarlC1Kwiziq community member

L'Imparfait vs "être(L'imparfait) en train de + infinitive

As stated in the lesson if you are emphasizing something in the past "en train de" can be used.  Therefore if you are emphasizing "Henri was having a nap when his boss came in "

"Henri était en train de faire une sieste ..." should be acceptable

Asked 6 days ago
CélineKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Karl,

Thank you for your comment! You are correct that in this instance and as mentioned in the lesson on "Expressing ongoing actions in the past in French: Être en train de", "être en train de + [verb]" can be used here. It has now been added as a possible answer. 

 

Merci et bonne journée !

JimC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Karl,

You make an interesting point.

My concern here is "Is having a nap" a continuous action, the same as "being asleep"?

Both terms would be correct would they not?

How about "Henri was asleep when his boss came in".  Does this way of looking at the situation support your point or not?

What do you think?

Bonne journée

Jim

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Not being 'correct' in a particular quiz is not the same as not being correct. What was the question format - freeform, or select from options ? In the latter, not necessarily all correct answers will be listed  - especially if linked to a particular lesson. On the other hand, if multiple answers in a multichoice list are correct, it is usually expected to indicate all to get the full tick ! If you think there was an error in marking worth submitting through the report an issue button.

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Être en train de faire qqc has the meaning of "being in the middle of doing something". It does imply some activity. Although grammatically perfectly correct, I don't think "être en train de faire une sieste" would be the first choice of phrase in this context. You wouldn't say "He was in the middle of having a siesta" unless in a kind of stylistic tongue-in-cheek. You can, however, be "in the middle of cleaning your room", or "in the middle of doing your shopping", etc.

L'Imparfait vs "être(L'imparfait) en train de + infinitive

As stated in the lesson if you are emphasizing something in the past "en train de" can be used.  Therefore if you are emphasizing "Henri was having a nap when his boss came in "

"Henri était en train de faire une sieste ..." should be acceptable

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