My teacher told us that the world is/was round

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Karen123456, Sep 16, 2010.

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  1. Karen123456 Senior Member

    Malaysia English
    My teacher told us that the world is/was round.

    Which word in bold should I use? I was taught that 'is' is the correct verb, but my friend told me that her teacher said that 'was' could be used. Is her teacher correct?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Cameljockey Senior Member

    Dubai
    British English
  3. Uriel- Senior Member

    New Mexico, US
    American English
    Neither is wrong, they just might be appropriate in different situations.
     
  4. Karen123456 Senior Member

    Malaysia English
    Thanks, Uriel.
    Could you elaborate a bit on what situations we should use 'is' and in which situations was'. My teacher said that it should be 'is' because it is a fact that the world is round.
     
  5. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    Is the earth flat or round? It is round.

    We were always taught that the world was round but now we know that because of its molten origin and centrifugal force -- which acts more on the equator than the poles -- it's an oblate spheroid.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2010
  6. Cameljockey Senior Member

    Dubai
    British English
    Karen,

    The question has been discussed many times before in the forum, and you should search the threads that I indicated to find her answer, there isn't a need for Uriel or I to provide a fresh discussion. Repeating the same question over and over is a waste of the resources of the forum and is a little lazy.

    All the best,
    CJ
     
  7. Karen123456 Senior Member

    Malaysia English
    Thanks, Copyright, for your example. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2010
  8. Karen123456 Senior Member

    Malaysia English
    The teacher said that the earth is/was round.

    Can either verb be used?

    Thanks.

    << Moderator's note:
    Merged with earlier thread. >>
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2012
  9. TRINTYA Junior Member

    Washington, DC
    English American
    In your specific sentence, IS & WAS changes the meaning of the sentence. When IS, is used, the sentence is stating a fact. The earth IS round. When, WAS is used it changes the meaning to implicate a past observation or that something has changed. ie. "The earth WAS round but, now it is considered egg shaped." Using WAS in this instance also makes the sentence incomplete. The earth WAS round ....... OK.... and ?????? Kind of like saying, "She WAS living outside........... and ????? what now. One way the sentence works with WAS in the above sentence is in an answer. "What did she say about the earth? She said the earth WAS round."
     
  10. Sparky Malarky

    Sparky Malarky Senior Member

    Indiana
    English - US
    I disagree. I don't think it changes the meaning of the sentence at all. The Earth IS round. But we frequently use past tense in reported speech.

    The teacher said "The Earth is round." Direct quote.
    The teacher said that the Earth was round. Reported speech.
    The teacher said that the Earth is round. Reported speech.
     
  11. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    Here are some more threads on the topic:
    is/was in the reported speech

    Sequence of Tenses (is --> was) - direct/reported speech.
    Sequence of Tenses (is --> was) - direct/reported speech.

    Reported speech, ongoing truth. He claimed the Earth was flat.

    This one includes some discussion of why people might choose 'is' or 'are', if you are still interested in that question.

    I am closing this thread so that future discussion will add to the usefulness of the existing threads, rather than replicating existing discussion.

    You will find more thread by using the search box to search for reported speech.
    You are welcome to add to any of them.
     
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