Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: why "was" here

  1. Senior Member
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Apr 2012
    • Posts: 943
    #1

    why "was" here

    One sentence in my exam paper was written like this:

    His son decided to join the army. Mrs.Smith was excited about that. "My son is going to be a soldier," she said. "He is going to be the best soldier there ever was."


    Q: Why is "was" used here? I think "He is going to be the best soldier there ever will be" will make more sense.

    Am I right?

    Thanks!

    Jason

  2. Moderator
    Retired English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 28,896
    #2

    Re: why "was" here

    There are four sentences there. For what reason did they appear on your exam paper?

  3. Senior Member
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Apr 2012
    • Posts: 943
    #3

    Re: why "was" here

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    There are four sentences there. For what reason did they appear on your exam paper?
    Actually it was a cloze exercise. It went like this:

    His son ___1___ to join the army. Mrs.Smith was__2___about that. "My son is going to be a soldier," she said. "He is going to be the best soldier there __3___ was."

    3. A. ever B. never

    I know the answer is A, but I am not sure whether "was" is used here. That's why I turn to you for help!
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 12-Nov-2019 at 15:12. Reason: Enlarged font

  4. jutfrank's Avatar
    VIP Member
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Mar 2014
    • Posts: 9,535
    #4

    Re: why "was" here

    I think the simplest and probably most useful answer to this is to suggest that you think of the best X there ever was as a semi-fixed expression. We also say the best X there's ever been, in present perfect. Both expressions talk about past history of all time.

    This is a somewhat unusual case in that it seems to be about the future, but actually it isn't. The future is marked by is going to. The mother is imagining a future point in time and then looking back into past history. In other words, it's about the past from the perspective of the future.

  5. Senior Member
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Apr 2012
    • Posts: 943
    #5

    Re: why "was" here

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I think the simplest and probably most useful answer to this is to suggest that you think of the best X there ever was as a semi-fixed expression. We also say the best X there's ever been, in present perfect. Both expressions talk about past history of all time.

    This is a somewhat unusual case in that it seems to be about the future, but actually it isn't. The future is marked by is going to. The mother is imagining a future point in time and then looking back into past history. In other words, it's about the past from the perspective of the future.
    Thank you for your wonderful reply. I think I've got your point.

    Is it possible that the sentence can also be written like: He is going to be the best soldier there ever will be?

    I hear a sentence which goes like this: "The best there ever was; the best there ever will be." Apparently, it is meant to pay tribute to Michael Jordan.

    Thanks again!

    Jason

  6. jutfrank's Avatar
    VIP Member
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Mar 2014
    • Posts: 9,535
    #6

    Re: why "was" here

    No, because the best there ever will be talks about future history, not past history. That is, all time from now on.

    So in the Michael Jordan example, the speaker is saying that MJ is the best in all of past history and future history.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •