Tâm
I'm learning English, so can I say? 1 My friend was a sculptor, that specialised in re-using old things, so when I point to her work and only say: "Was this a table?", will she understand and understand that "Was this a table in the past?" or I have to say "Was this once a table ? 2 If I point to someone and only say "He is my old friend, he was a teacher.", so will the hearer understand and understand that "He is my old friend, he was a teacher in the past" (maybe now he is not a teacher or retired" or "He was a teacher but I haven't seen him in 20 years. I do not know what he does now")? 3 Imagine that I have a tiny person who is small enough to hold in the palm of my hand and I do a magic trick, open my hand and they are not there. But instead there is a rabbit?. Then I say to the audience/other people "who was this?", so will the hearer understand and understand that "Who was this in the past? or Who was this at first?"? Thanks!
Oct 13, 2018 6:04 PM
Answers · 12
1. She might understand what you mean with "Was this a table", but you could also say "Did this used to be a table"? "Was this once a table" I think is correct, but "used to be" feels more natural. 2. I would say "He's an old friend of mine." "He is my old friend" might imply he is old, which you wouldn't want to say out loud :) You wouldn't say "he was a teacher" unless you are sure he is no longer one. You can say "Last time I saw him, he was a teacher". I would put a period, not a comma, between these two parts, since they are very different. 3. I would say "where did he go?" You could also say "what is this?", and the audience will probably understand you are asking out of surprise that he's a rabbit. "Who was this" doesn't make sense here. "Who" - you are asking about the person's name, occupation, purpose, but that's not the focus. The focus is the type of creature - human or rabbit. "Was" - you are talking about the tiny person, but it's not clear why when the audience is looking at a rabbit.
October 13, 2018
You have to say 'my friend was a sculptor, WHO .. not 'that. 1. Did this used to be a table? 2. If you don't know what he does now, why say 'he was a teacher'?? Was he your teacher?.. then say, He is my old teacher. If he's not a teacher now, say He used to be a teacher. 3. 'Who' is strange because it seems they know the small person's name.. But, they watched the trick right?.. so they already know the rabbit was a person... no? :)
October 13, 2018
1 The shorter form is perfectly good enough, but not what I would ask. If it is still recognisable I would ask "is this a table" or "is this part of a table". If it is no longer recognisable because your friend has used a small part of it, I would ask "is this from a table?". I would only ask "was this a table?" if I believed it to be an entire table which had lost its identity.. For example, if my friend had burned the table, then put its ash in a bottle, I might ask this. 2 Yes,100% correct in meaning. 3 No. There are two possibilities here depending on the type of magic you practise. If the person 'Fred' has been turned into a rabbit, we could ask "who is this?" as Fred is still present. If the person has disappeared and been replaced by a rabbit, he and it are unrelated; "who has disappeared?" is valid, but not very relevant to what we see. The usual.question is "where did he go?", and you would make.a big show of finding Fred in the ear or handbag of an audience member.
October 13, 2018
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October 13, 2018
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Tâm
Language Skills
English, Vietnamese
Learning Language
English