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tense - preposition

English translation: Yes

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23:09 Dec 20, 2005
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Other / literature
English term or phrase: tense - preposition
as she travelled alone to Paris, driving a rented car, Camila had a breakdown near (city)

as she was travelling alone towards Paris, in a rented car, Camila had a breakdown near (city)

Are both tenses (past continuous - simple past) possible?
Is it possible to use "towards" with the simple past?
as she travelled alone towards Paris
Lakasa Stnorden
Local time: 20:09
English translation:Yes
Explanation:
I think both are fine, but I can't add an agree to Anna Maria's answer because I fail to see why she objects to "towards". Towards to me perfectly OK, and implies to me a longer or more roundabout journey than just "to" - for example, one might well talk of the Canterbury Tales which the pilgrims told as they journeyed towards Canterbury - "towards" would be the right preposition in that context.

And there is no reason why you can't use towards with the simple past:

As she walked across the room towards him the glass dropped from her hand.

As the plane plummeted towards the ground the pilot fought to regain control.

.. and plenty more possible answers.

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Note added at 19 mins (2005-12-20 23:28:14 GMT)
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Sorry, it's a bit late in the day - "Towards to me is perfectly OK" and "plenty more possible examples".
Selected response from:

Armorel Young
Local time: 00:09
Grading comment
muchas gracias por tods los comentarios. saludos
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +4The answer to both of your questions is 'yes'.
Jackie Bowman
3 +4Yes
Armorel Young
4 +2As she was travelling to Paris on her own, C'sxxxCMJ_Trans
4 +1As Camila travelled alone to Paris, her rented/rental car broke down near (city)
Kevin Kelly
5Both sentences are terriblezaphod
4 +1The first 2 sentences are fine but not toward....Anna Maria Augustine at proZ.com
4 -1vide infra
Richard Benham


Discussion entries: 8





  

Answers


6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
As she was travelling to Paris on her own, C's


Explanation:
car broke down

Camila had a breakdown means that she broke down as opposed to her car

As she travelled, etc. would work but only in some more limited contexts

xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 01:09
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 48

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  xxxsarahl: yes, the way I understand this, she did fall apart -not the car- and travelling alone to Paris was the reason.
1 hr

agree  Richard Benham: "rented car"?
11 hrs
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10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +4
Yes


Explanation:
I think both are fine, but I can't add an agree to Anna Maria's answer because I fail to see why she objects to "towards". Towards to me perfectly OK, and implies to me a longer or more roundabout journey than just "to" - for example, one might well talk of the Canterbury Tales which the pilgrims told as they journeyed towards Canterbury - "towards" would be the right preposition in that context.

And there is no reason why you can't use towards with the simple past:

As she walked across the room towards him the glass dropped from her hand.

As the plane plummeted towards the ground the pilot fought to regain control.

.. and plenty more possible answers.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 19 mins (2005-12-20 23:28:14 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Sorry, it's a bit late in the day - "Towards to me is perfectly OK" and "plenty more possible examples".

Armorel Young
Local time: 00:09
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 48
Grading comment
muchas gracias por tods los comentarios. saludos

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Cristina Chaplin
39 mins

agree  KNielsen
3 hrs

neutral  Richard Benham: Uncharacteristically, I seem to disagree with you on most points (see my answer). "Towards" in particular for me has no element of destination, which I think is probably part of the intention.
9 hrs

agree  transparx: I also agree with jccantrell that using "towards" may imply that she was simply driving in the direction of Paris. The past progressive emphasizes this possibility. Did she ever get to Paris?
9 hrs
  -> An excellent point - towards does have the sense of heading in that direction but not getting there; but as Camila had a breakdown it's possible she didn't get to Paris :-)

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
18 hrs
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3 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
The first 2 sentences are fine but not toward....


Explanation:
you could say: heading for Paris but : to Paris is fine.

otherwise no problems with the tenses.

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Note added at 5 mins (2005-12-20 23:14:51 GMT)
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you can also say: travelling alone on her way to Paris OR driving to Paris

Happy Christmas

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Note added at 23 mins (2005-12-20 23:32:31 GMT)
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I do not think someone can have a nervous breakdown in a car so I guess the car broke down.

Maybe she broke down and cried???????

Anna Maria Augustine at proZ.com
France
Local time: 01:09
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 35

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Peter Shortall: On balance I'd go for "to", not "towards" unless she was taking the scenic route! "Breakdown" certainly is ambiguous, when I first read it I assumed it was the car! I presume the ambiguity is intentional? If so, it works in English too!
20 mins
  -> Thank you
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49 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +4
The answer to both of your questions is 'yes'.


Explanation:
.

Jackie Bowman
Local time: 19:09
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Alexander Demyanov
22 mins
  -> Thanks ...

agree  Enza Longo
1 hr
  -> Thank you

agree  KNielsen
2 hrs
  -> Thanks

agree  Alfredo Tutino: Sometimes, it seeems, we are overzealous in eliminating ambiguities, normalizing language, grammar and sintax and so forth. Authors should have distinctive voices and styles even in translation, ideally...
1 day37 mins
  -> Thanks
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49 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
Both sentences are terrible


Explanation:
as she travelled alone to Paris, driving a rented car, Camila had a breakdown near (city)

This is patently bad.

Camila's rented car broke down near (city) as she travelled alone to Paris

zaphod
Local time: 01:09
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Jackie Bowman: No. It isn’t bad, ‘patently’ or otherwise. It is more than satisfactory. It certainly has a greater sense of cadence than your suggestion. But all the best. And a Happy New Year.
7 mins
  -> Hey Jack you're right! Let's dumb down EVERYTHING.

agree  Richard Benham: Yes, they are terrible. Pity yours is only slightly better.
9 hrs
  -> But it's a pantload shorter than yours
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10 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
As Camila travelled alone to Paris, her rented/rental car broke down near (city)


Explanation:
*

Kevin Kelly
Local time: 19:09
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  zaphod: Thanks for the clarity. Keep your head down
17 hrs
  -> Thank you :-)
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9 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -1
vide infra


Explanation:
(1) "As" is terrible; "while" is much better.

(2) "Towards" is unidiomatic, although logically not incorrect.

(3) Either tense is OK, but other wordings might be better than either.

(4) There is no ambiguity about the breakdown--it is Camila who broke down (maybe due to stress? being dumped by her boyfriend?...). I am sure this is not what was intended.

Here is an attempt at a more reasonable English sentence:

"Camila was on her way to Paris, driving alone, when her rented car broke down near Citysville."

Note that this sentence is still not very good, as there is really too much information to be accommodated comfortably in one English sentence. I would consider splitting it up.

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Note added at 10 hrs 17 mins (2005-12-21 09:26:18 GMT)
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"As" suggests two continuous events happening simultaneously, e.g., "As Camila was driving alone to Paris, Charles was attending a function at the palace."

"As" can also be used for a cause or reason: "As Camila was driving alone to Paris, Charles thought it might be a good idea to seduce one of the maids."

These are two good reasons to avoid it.

"Towards" merely means, as ninogulli put it, "in the direction of". It cannot be used if, as I assume is the case here, an actual destination is intended. "On the way to", "to" or simialar is required.

Richard Benham
France
Local time: 01:09
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 24

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  transparx: personally, I don't see why "as" is terrible; as for "towards," it is not unidiomatic if the intended meaning is that C was driving in the direction of Paris
15 mins
  -> As I said to Armorel, I think the notion of destination is intended, which would rule out "towards". "As" just is terrible. Trust me; I'm a native. I'll think about it and add a note.

disagree  Jackie Bowman: “As” does not suggest two simultaneous events – see first sentence of ‘100 Years of Solitude’ in excellent Rabassa translation. “As’ used for cause (replacing ‘because’ or ‘since’) is ALWAYS a red flag indicating dull prose. Sentence is wholly acceptable
6 hrs
  -> In answer to your first point, it certainly does. I don't know the work you refer to; perhaps you could supply the quote. Your second "as" point is both false and irrelevant.
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