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In the following sentence:

昨天晚上我们在一起聊天,___忽然停电了。

To fill in the blank, I picked up 说着说着, but the correct answer was 躺着躺着.

The other two candidates were 跳着跳着 and 走着走着, and I even think these are correct as well... because the electrocity can suddenly stop even if you jump, walk, speak, or laid down.

Why is 躺着躺着 correct here? And what is the reason the verb + 着 is repeated here?

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    Based on grammar, all of the candidates are correct. Based on the author of this quetion, the author's choice is correct.' – Jacob Aug 22 '17 at 13:03
  • 躺着躺着 sounds weird. – fefe Aug 23 '17 at 1:31
  • @fefe This was a grammar test on EasyMandarin website. Then which sounds more natural? – Blaszard Aug 23 '17 at 2:25
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    I agree with @dan . "聊着聊着" is better. “说着说着” is good. – fefe Aug 23 '17 at 2:40
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We say "verb 着 verb 着" to express that "In the middle of (our) doing sth."

So 躺着躺着就停电了 means "When we were lying, the electricity went out." (Or "In the middle of our lying...")

Usually this means "In the middle something" so don't use it if you mean "when we have just started sth."

  • Thanks but then doesn't 走着走着 also make sense? "When we were walking (in the room) the electricity runs out"...? – Blaszard Aug 22 '17 at 12:59
  • @Blaszard Yes! Exactly! In the middle of walking, something happened. – iBug Aug 22 '17 at 13:00
  • Grammatically correct, but why are you walking in the room? – jf328 Aug 23 '17 at 13:04
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According to this context, 说着说着 is correct to me. 昨天晚上我们在一起聊天,说着说着忽然停电了。 The hint is 聊天, so either 聊着聊着 or 说着说着 makes sense in the context.

...着...着 means 'while (doing) ...'.

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You are not wrong and I would actually prefer your answer to 躺着躺着, but of course as others suggested, 聊着聊着 is the best.

Don't worry about it, at your age, you should have seen loads of nonsense answers like this in art/literature subjects. The question setter is either foolish or careless.

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