He was a good boy. Is he alive or dead? or maybe alive or maybe dead?

pickyx

Senior Member
Chinese
He was a good boy.

Is he alive or dead? or maybe alive or maybe dead? or just he was a good boy in the past, and now he is a bad boy?

No context, just this one sentence.

Thanks!
 
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    We can't tell much about the boy from that sentence.
    "He was a good boy" only tells us that he was good (at least once) in the past.

    It doesn't tell us about him. It doesn't answer the other questions you mention: whether he is now dead, or whether he is still alive but isn't a good boy any more, or whether he is still alive and still a good boy. You would have to give that information separately.


    The 'was' only puts 'good' in the past. It doesn't apply to the boy.

    I hope I understood your question.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    For me, it could be the 'goodness' that is in the past or the 'boyhood' or both.

    If the good boy grew up to become a good man, you could still say, 'He was a good boy.' Or a good boy who is now a bad (etc) boy; or a good boy who is now a bad (etc) man. Or the boy is now dead.
     
    Last edited:

    pickyx

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    We can't tell much about the boy from that sentence.
    "He was a good boy" only tells us that he was good (at least once) in the past.

    It doesn't tell us about him. It doesn't answer the other questions you mention: whether he is now dead, or whether he is still alive but isn't a good boy any more, or whether he is still alive and still a good boy. You would have to give that information separately.


    The 'was' only puts 'good' in the past. It doesn't apply to the boy.

    I hope I understood your question.
    Thanks, Cagey, I think I have got what I wanted to know from your answer.

    Thanks again.
     

    pickyx

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    For me, it could be the 'goodness' that is in the past or the 'boyhood' or both.

    If the good boy grew up to become a good man, you could still say, 'He was a good boy.' Or a good boy who is now a bad (etc) boy; or a good boy who is now a bad (etc) man. Or the boy is now dead.
    Thanks, natkretep, you knew what I meant. thanks again for your answer.
     
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