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  1. #1
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    "Is" or "has"?

    This one has me puzzled. Since "he's" can denote both "he is" and "he has", what are we in fact stating when we comment someone having gotten on in years?

    Are we saying "He is past his prime" or "He has passed his prime"?

    I can't remember when I last saw this particular phrase in writing and I am indeed stumped.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    bds51 is offline Junior Member
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    Re: "Is" or "has"?

    Bill:
    Passing one's prime is a gradual process and since it varies from one person to another how long they remain active and in good health the verb is normally understood to be 'is'. The other variable is age. Most are still in their prime, some have (just) past their prime and others are clearly past theirs. Therefore, the 'has passed' indicates a recent development.

  3. #3
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    Re: "Is" or "has"?

    Thank you for your help.

    Regards,
    Bill

  4. #4
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    Re: "Is" or "has"?

    A quick P.S., bds51:

    I am assuming you mean "passed" and not "past" here:

    "Most are still in their prime, some have (just) past their prime and others are clearly past theirs. Therefore, the 'has passed' indicates a recent development."

    As I understand it, we must discern between "passed" and "past" depending on our choice of "to be" or "to have" in such a context. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I just want to be 100% certain as I am copy-pasting your explanation to my notes for future reference.

    Thanks again for your detailed reply.

    Regards,
    Bill

  5. #5
    bds51 is offline Junior Member
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    Re: "Is" or "has"?

    Thanks Bill
    Good eye! You're right that's a typo and an oversight. 'have (just) passed' is what I should have typed.

  6. #6
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Re: "Is" or "has"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordic Bill View Post
    This one has me puzzled. Since "he's" can denote both "he is" and "he has", what are we in fact stating when we comment someone having gotten on in years?
    They mean exactly the same thing.

    Are we saying "He is past his prime." emphasizes where he is, that is 'past his prime'

    "He has passed his prime."? emphasizes what he has done, that is 'passed his prime'

    I can't remember when I last saw this particular phrase in writing and I am indeed stumped.

    Thanks.
    2006

  7. #7
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Re: "Is" or "has"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordic Bill View Post
    This one has me puzzled. Since "he's" can denote both "he is" and "he has", what are we in fact stating when we comment someone having gotten on in years?

    Are we saying "He is past his prime" or "He has passed his prime"?

    I can't remember when I last saw this particular phrase in writing and I am indeed stumped.

    Thanks.
    If I said "He's passed/t his prime" I would not even consider which I meant, since there's no real difference pragmatically. In a more complex sentence, the difference might become apparent:
    He's passed/t his prime since his wife died. This can only mean. "He has passed ..."
    But if a someone has passed their prime, they are past their prime.
    I can't follow bds51's argument.

  8. #8
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    Re: "Is" or "has"?

    Thanks, everyone, for the useful feedback.

  9. #9
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    Re: "Is" or "has"?

    Thank you. It is useful one

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