While studying, I ran my own business for almost two years.

This sounds natural to me, but my friend claims that the continuous form ("I was running") is gramatically correct. Which is it?

PS. In case it matters, this is in the context of a resume, so the idea is to sound formal.

  • 2
    Either is fine.
    – Robusto
    Nov 12, 2018 at 19:05
  • 3
    Yes, either one is fine. But they may not mean what you want them to -- While studying in English means 'while I was studying', not 'while I was a student', so it sounds like you ran your business only while you were engaged in studying for your class. Nov 12, 2018 at 19:12
  • 2
    @JohnLawler You've got letters after your name and I don't, but I disagree. I'm used to the phrasing "While studying [at University], I had two full time jobs, and also was a unicorn wrangler on weekends".
    – Dan Bron
    Nov 12, 2018 at 19:18
  • 1
    @DanBron Oh, sure; but When studying, alone, as in the example sentence, means something different from when studying at EMU, for instance. Nov 12, 2018 at 23:12

1 Answer 1


Both are correct. The first sentence means that while doing the first action which is "studying" it was interrupted by the other action which is "running your own business" so you might no longer be doing the first action, but the second sentence means that you are doing both actions at the same time and none of them interrupted the other.

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