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Tâm
Can I say? If I point to a person and only say "He was a doctor.", so will the hearer understand that "He was a doctor in the past and he isn't a doctor now. / He was a doctor before and he isn't a doctor now. / He used to be a doctor and he isn't a doctor now." or I have to say clearly that "He was a doctor when he was young. / He was a doctor before"? If I point to a person and only say "He was a thief.", so will the hearer understand that "In the past, he was a thief and he isn't a thief now. / He was a thief before and he isn't a thief now. / He used to be a thief and he isn't a thief now." or I have to say clearly that "He was a thief when he was young. / He was a thief before"?
Oct 3, 2018 6:54 AM
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Answers · 6
Hi Tam, Edited If I point to a person and only say "He was a doctor.", so will the hearer understand that "He was a doctor in the past and he isn't a doctor now. No. He was a Doctor says nothing about that person's current situation. "He was a Doctor but now he is not" or "He was a Doctor but I haven't seen him in 20 years. I do not know what he does now". "He was a Doctor and then was arrested." He was a Doctor only tells us about the past with no reference to present or future. I hope this helps, Stephen
October 3, 2018
I think He used to be a doctor. Will be the best answer in this case.
October 3, 2018
he used to be a doctor : đã từng
October 3, 2018
Yes, because you are using past tense to say that. Verb "to be" past forms are "was / were".
October 3, 2018
Tâm
Language Skills
English, Vietnamese
Learning Language
English