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  1. flin8812's Avatar

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 6
    #1

    The difference between "was" and "is"

    The receptionist said:
    What was your SID?
    What was your number?

    Can't you say "is" instead?

    Is this use also similar to the way you use "could" instead "can"
    when you're ordering food? That is, "could" being much more polite than "can".

    Lots of thanks in advance.

  2. Leandro-Z's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
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      • Argentina
      • Current Location:
      • Argentina

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 172
    #2

    Re: The difference between "was" and "is"

    In the case of "can" and "could" it is a matter of politeness and formality. Whereas in "is" and "was" it is particularly the same.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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      • English
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      • Australia
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      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
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    #3

    Re: The difference between "was" and "is"

    Quote Originally Posted by flin8812 View Post
    The receptionist said:
    What was your SID?
    What was your number?

    Can't you say "is" instead?
    You should say "is". Sometimes, if you're not concentrating, and you aren't sure whether you've been told, you might say, "What was your SID again?", that is, "Please tell me your SID [again, if appropriate]"

    Is this use also similar to the way you use "could" instead "can"
    when you're ordering food? That is, "could" being much more polite than "can".
    It's more polite if they have already told you.

    Lots of thanks in advance.
    R.

  4. flin8812's Avatar

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 6
    #4

    Re: The difference between "was" and "is"

    may I ask why "was" and "is" is equivalent in this situation?
    There must be a reason why "was" was used instead.

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