I watched Ace Ventura - Pet Detective and didn't understand past continuous usage in the scene which can be watched here: ''https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuhPPOXnyKo'' (0:42).

''I wouldn't want somebody tracing my steps, pointing out all the mistakes I was making''

One thing I know this sentence is reduced ''I wouldn't want somebody tracing my steps, pointing out all the mistakes I was making (e.g., if I were you)''

But why ''was making''?

I believe it doesn't refer to the past since context refer to present.

Thank you for helping me out.

  • I don't quiet understand what you're trying to say. Tracking my steps and pointing out all the mistakes are describing ''somebody'' (it's a participle phrase). They both refer to the unreal point in time. ''I was making'' describes ''mistakes'' and the tense(was making) would refer to some point in the past without the context, but the context in the video doesn't give any information about the past. So it should be something else. – Lee Mar 15 '17 at 10:29
  • Now I understood. As you said, the past continuous refers to the time of ''tracing my steps''(as he was making his mistakes) and after the tracing, when somebody is pointing his mistakes ''tracing my steps'' is in the past. I had never seen this kind of use of past continuous. Thank you – Lee Mar 16 '17 at 14:04
  • I redid my comments into one answer for your approval. – Yosef Baskin Mar 16 '17 at 14:19

Tracing and making go together. In the imaginary situation he creates, someone was tracing his mistakes all day at the same times that he was making those mistakes.

This is more explicit: "In that situation, I definitely would not want to have somebody tracing my many steps (over an arc of time). Why? Anyone following me would see all of those mistakes as I was doing them over that period of watching me and would then be able to point out the mistakes during that whole time of tracing my steps."

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