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Even though I understand the difference between the simple and the continuous aspect of the English tense system, I sometimes struggle to understand what each of these two aspects expresses in some past and future contexts. Let me give you two examples:

1a. When I was a teenager I sometimes called my father.

1b. When I was a teenager I sometimes was calling my father.

2a. This is the last time we are seeing each other. I will sometimes call you.

2b. This is the last time we are seeing each other. I will be sometimes calling you.

I get the meaning expressed by the past simple and the future simple in the above example sentences but I`m not feeling the continuous. Could you tell me what meaning does the continuous aspect convey in those?

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  • I hope someone expert in grammar answers this question. Are sentences 2 and 4 correct grammatically? Aug 24 at 6:15
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I hope the following will be useful, though I am not sure I can express it in the correct grammatical terms

When I was a teenager I sometimes called my father
-- the phrase above is ok

When I was a teenager I sometimes was calling my father
-- the phrase above sounds wrong

Can I suggest the following two modified sentences, which both sound correct to illustrate the difference.

When I was a teenager I always called my father on Sunday evenings

When I was a teenager I was always calling my father

same for the future

  • This is the last time we are seeing each other. I will sometimes call you
    vs
  • This is the last time we are seeing each other. I will be sometimes calling you

The first phrase sounds ok, but the second one sounds wrong because sometimes means only from time to time, not continuously.

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  • Thanks tom. What would you say the difference is between the two following sentences?: When I was a teenager I always called my father /vs/ When I was a teenager I was always calling my father
    – user122524
    May 21 '15 at 21:59
  • @user122524 the second version means that you were always calling him (night and day perhaps) the first version does not sound correct, it needs to be at specific times e.g. always called my father when I couldn't do my maths homework.
    – tom
    May 21 '15 at 22:45
  • When I was a teenager, I was always calling my father during the week.
    – Lambie
    May 9 '18 at 11:45
  • No, as a rule, don't suggest corrections. answer the question, dont question the question and don't question your answer.
    – vectory
    Jan 2 '20 at 2:09

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