When+past continuous

Is it correct to use past continuous tense after “when” like “as , while”?

Can you give an example of the type of thing you’re thinking about?

When I was reading , I heard a cry.
I could not hear anything when the music was playing

Hi Muin,

Yes, that is perfectly all right. These are two past tenses -

The simple past tense (I heard) happened in the middle of the past continuous (I was reading)

Another example -

I saw you last night when I was walking back home.

I agree with that but why do some teachers insist on using only simple past after when and they strictly refuse the structure I mentioned above claiming that it contradicts the rule .
Are they right for that ?

I quote from a school text book:
She found it hard to think clearly when the loud music was playing .
OK . Somebody argued that music is an inanimate object and the tense should be simple past "was on ". I tried to convince him that music never plays without a band !!
I do not know . It is all a mess!! Inflexible teachers deal with a flexible language !!!

The text book is correct.
She found it hard to think clearly when the loud music was playing.

This is possible:
She found it hard to think clearly when the loud music was on.
but it does have a somewhat different meaning that the original. To use ‘was on’ would usually indicate that the music was playing on a television, radio, CD or MP3 player or similar - a gadget that would allow music to be played. Occasionally. it might also indicate the part of a concert, etc. when music was being played (when the music was on, she could not concentrate, when the speaking was on, she could.) - it does not carry the over-arching idea of music being played in the way the original does.

Your friend, being pedantic regarding where the music comes from, should be satisfied with this:
She found it hard to think clearly when the loud music was being played.
However, the original example would be the version more readily used. It is perfectly acceptable to refer to the music ‘playing’.

I am very much indebted to you. If it does not bother you , could you elaborate a bit on “over-arching” ?

Just to clarify - the past continuous as I said above, is used as a background tense and the past simple happens in the middle of that activity. Past continuous is perfectly acceptable after ‘when’ and the idea that an inanimate object must be used with the past simple is absurd - the sun was shining- the wind was blowing - the rain was falling and so on and so on.

You may have seen it as a single word without a hyphen, as both are in existence.

oxfordlearnersdictionaries.c … verarching