1. writingforummonkey
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    writingforummonkey Member

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    Please Help

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by writingforummonkey, May 2, 2011.

    So I don't know if I'm brain dead or if it even matters, but I can't decide if this should be in the simple past or past progressive, or either.

    Many people seemed to think the economy (suffered/was suffering) from excessive governmental regulation.

    Which one is it, does it matter?

    (If context is needed, the people are the voters in an election during the 1960s)
     
  2. Norule
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    Norule Member

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    Many people seemed to think "that" the economy "was suffering" from excessive governmental regulation.

    I would say
     
  3. John Yeoman
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    John Yeoman Banned

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    Suffered or was suffering?

    The meaning of each term is different. 'Suffered' can imply that the economy has suddenly been impacted by suffering. It is a one-off occasion. 'Was suffering' suggests it is an ongoing situation. Here, I think the correct form is 'was suffering'.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    either could be correct, but it's too hard to tell which works best without seeing that sentence in context... what comes before and after it?
     
  5. Infinitytruth
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    Infinitytruth Senior Member

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    I completely and totally agree with this comment. It really depends on how it was used.

    It feels like either could be used to me, but it all depends on the writer and what they're trying to convey to their readers.
     
  6. writingforummonkey
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    writingforummonkey Member

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    Thanks a lot to everybody who helped. I ended up putting was suffering.
    This was the extended passage, if anyone wanted more context.
    Thanks again.

    In this period of declining liberalism, America’s attitude towards big government began to change. Many people thought the economy was suffering from excessive governmental regulation and thus rejected the degree of government intervention that they accepted earlier in the decade. The people viewed the government as an inefficient and overly bureaucratic institution which overtaxed its citizens in order to fund its ill-conceived and ill-managed social programs that did not benefit those being taxed.
     
  7. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Right call, I would say. The suffering was something that was continuing at that time, not something that had been completed, and although "suffered" could carry that meaning "was suffering" does so unambiguously.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, that's best...
     

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