The choice I chose was "the birds sang in the trees" as I thought it was descriptive! as in "Le soleil brillait sur la campagne" the sun shone on the countryside. But the correct answer was "the birds were singing in the trees". Why is this and how to tell the difference? Thanks,
Your translation is correct, if the sentence appears in the proper context. Taken by itself, it could also be interpreted as a single event instead of a background state. Using the continuous form in English, this ambiguity is removed and it becomes clear that one talks about a longer duration state.
So Chris are you saying that the question did not provide enough context to be answered correctly? This could be true as I was working on a notebook of 3 imperfect lessons :-)
I guess that's what I'm saying. To be clear, I would have the English be "The birds were singing in the tree." That said, the sentence is probably more likely to describe a state, which would indicate preferential use of the imperfect.
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