comme il mâchait la bouche ouverte
I'm wondering why the 2 different verb tenses here. One act (of seeing) is related to the other act (of chewing) but 2 different tenses were used.
Freeform Writing Exercise B1
In this instance, L’Imparfait is used to set a description of an ongoing action (‘il mâchait' ; chewing) whilst Le Passé Composé is used to express an interruption ('j’ai pu admirer …' ; watching) of the ongoing action (chewing).
Please see this link on Le Passé Composé with L’Imparfait, where it explain this particular use of both tenses.
I hope this is helpful.
To give you a better sense of the distinction, look at how English differentiates in this case: "I could see his tonsils while he was chewing." The continuous (-ing) form in the second half tells you that this process was ongoing as the first one (simple past) happened. In French you use the imparfait vs. passé composé to make the same distinction.
Thanks for the clarification, I had the same question.
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