was/is the former...

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Tedwonny

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I've come across structure like this in the newspapers every so often:......is/was the former (e.g. Chief Secretary). I was wondering if is or was should be used. Personally, I think 'is' is better as (1) it's still true now - describing a fact and (2) there is the adjective 'former' already indicating that person no longer holds that position. Am I right? Thanks a lot
 

MikeNewYork

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Yes, you are correct. His is currently the former...
 

probus

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It depends on the context. When speaking about the present "he is" is the tense that agrees. But when reporting on the past you should use "he was" regardless of whether he is still.
 

MikeNewYork

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If I were reporting the past I would still use "is", unless he is dead. He will always be the former as long as he lives.
 
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