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Which one is correct?

He was carrying two ice cream cones and talked to a little boy.

or

He was carrying two ice cream cones and talking to a little boy.

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3 Answers 3

It depends what you mean. The first has only the first verb in a clearly continuous sense, while the second has them both that way.

  • I was carrying two ice cream cones when I ran into the little boy.

  • I was carrying two ice cream cones all the while I was talking to the little boy.

Which sense did you mean?

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Your first sentence is correct grammatically but the verb you chose -run- has not the same property as "talk" when considered telicity / atelicity. So it is not good example. Sorry –  Mustafa Jan 15 '12 at 19:02
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When we considered telicity (being complete in some sense) and atelicity (being uncomplete in some sense) of verbs, the first sentence seems unacceptable. If the verb is atelic -e.g meet, you may use the construction as in

I was carrying two ice cream cones and I met the little boy.

if the verb is not atelic you may not construct sentences as in your first example. I believe the verb talk is atelic.

Your second sentence is correct.

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Correct:

He was carrying two ice cream cones and talking to a little boy.

Grammatically Incorrect:

He was carrying two ice cream cones and talked to a little boy.

In the second sentence, talked is a past participle. It lacks consistency with the sentence, which is in the past continuous tense.

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Awesome! Just downvote an answer without providing a reason. –  ApprenticeHacker Jan 15 '12 at 18:27
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The second sentence was correct. If you look at it as "He (was carrying two ice cream cones) and (talked to a little boy)," the parallelism is correct. –  alecRN Jan 15 '12 at 18:32
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