his superior was acting out of malice when he tried to demote him

sb70012

Senior Member
Azerbaijani/Persian
The colonel has been a model officer. I can only guess that his superior was acting out of malice when he tried to demote him.
Source: vocabulary for the high school student by Harold Levine

Hello,
I know the meanings of each word in the whole sentence but I can't understand the whole meaning.

Let me tell you what makes me confused:

I don't know "was" refers to the time before being a model when he was a colonel or it (was) refers to the time after he started being a model officer.
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I think you may be having trouble with the phrase "a model officer", sb. It means "an exemplary officer" - in other words, an excellent officer.
     
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