I am confused in be-verb tense.

He is/was my high school classmate. (Now I study in college).

Bill Clinton is/was the 42nd president of the United States.

This is/was my high school. (Now I study in college. When I pass through the place, I introduce it to my friend)

This is/was Apple's 2016 income. (In the presentation, I show my boss Apple's 2016 income).

According to my understanding, both of is and was are allowable.

Is it right?

Thank you!

Original Post

Hi, Levy,

I prefer "was" because, even if "he," Bill Clinton and Apple still exist, all three sentences contain information that brings us back to the past:

- He was my high school classmate. (He was my classmate when I was in high school.)

- Bill Clinton was the 42nd president of the United States. (Similar to: Bill Clinton was the president of the United States who came 42nd in order.)

- This was Apple's 2016 income. (This was the income that Apple earned in 2016.)

In the case of Apple's 2016 income, if a presentation is being made I think the present is also fine.

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Thank you!

The current men’s 100-meter world record is 9.58 seconds.

The record made by Bolt in 2009 game was 9.58 seconds.

If I want to say “the record made by Bolt in 2009 game is/was the current men’s 100-meter world record, I am confused which be-verb is right?

In one aspect, the record being made is past. In the other aspect, the record being the men’s 100-meter world record is present.

Thanks, again!

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I'd say:

- The record set by Bolt in 2009 games is the current men’s 100-meter world record.

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Thank you!

But I am very confused in the be-verb tense.

For example, he was my ex-boss.

In your suggestion, "was" is preferable.

I want to know whether any grammaer rules are available for this issue.

Thank you, again.

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Levy posted:

But I am very confused in the be-verb tense.

For example, he was my ex-boss.

You should say:

- He was my boss.
- He is my ex-boss.

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Sorry!

I can’t distinguish the two sentences:

Bill Clinton was the 42nd president of the United States.

He is my ex-boss.

In the present view, being president and being boss are past.

Why do the former use “was” and the latter use “is”?

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Suppose you got married three times. You can refer to your first wife by saying:

- She was my first wife.

or

- She is my ex-wife.

We use "was" because "first" brings us back to the time when you were married to her (she was your first wife ten years ago, for example).

We use "is" because "ex" refers to her current status (now that you are no longer married to her she is your ex-wife).

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Sorry!

My previous job is/was teaching.

Because I have changed job and teaching is not my job, in current version, it is past, and in past version, it was.

For these reasons, I don't know which is OK?

Thank you

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Yes, you should say:

- My previous job was teaching.

Unlike "my ex-wife," where the existing person holds the status of ex-wife, when referring to a past activity we use the past:

- That was my previous job / my first job.

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Sorry!

I am  confused how to use was or is in a be-verb sentence?

For example, teaching is written in my resume, so  I think it is my previous job.

It never change. Today it is my previous job, and tomorrow it is also.

Why did you think "was" is preferable?

Thank you!

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Levy posted:

I am  confused how to use was or is in a be-verb sentence?

For example, teaching is written in my resume, so  I think it is my previous job.

It never change. Today it is my previous job, and tomorrow it is also.

Why did you think "was" is preferable?

For the same reason that you say: was a teacher (from X year to Y year).

Therefore, between those years your job was teaching.

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