3

I know that while, like after, before, when, as soon as introduce time clauses, which require the present simple:

I'll keep you company while you wait.

But so many of the students have used the present continuous on the quiz I gave them because this is taking place at the moment of speaking.

I'll keep you company while you're waiting.

I've checked online and have seen both used. I'm certain that the present simple is the correct answer according to standard grammar rules. And that's what I would say and write. But the present continuous doesn't sound so bad to me, now that I see it written.

I'd appreciate other opinions on this.

  • 2
    I don't think it matters, at least colloquially; I would use both. – FracturedRetina Apr 8 '14 at 18:25
  • @ Jasper Loy.Thanks for editing my cumbersome question. This is the first time I posted a question. I'll do better next time. – Babs Apr 8 '14 at 20:34
2

1.) I'll keep you company while you wait.

2.) I'll keep you company while you are waiting.

Both versions are grammatical and standard English.

Here's some related info from CGEL, on their subsection on "(d) Duration", pages 165-6:

Where two situations are of the same duration and simultaneous, it is possible to use the progressive for either, both, or neither:

[11]

  • i. She was reading while he watched TV. - - [progressive + non-progressive]

  • ii. She read while he was watching TV. - - [non-progressive + progressive]

  • iii. She was reading while he was watching TV. - - [progressive + progressive]

  • iv. She read while he watched TV. - - [non-progressive + non-progressive]

Note that CGEL is the 2002 reference grammar by Huddleston and Pullum (et al.), The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language.

  • 1
    @ F.E. Thanks so much for confirming what I felt was right. I've spent so much time researching and teaching grammar rules that I sometimes just can't see the forest for the trees. – Babs Apr 8 '14 at 20:31

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