English Grammar


as it once was

Hello you fellow-sufferers! (from grammar problems)


"once" is not a definite exact point in past time. Why must I use "was" then?
An not "as it once has been", because of that unspecified past time (once)?

2 comments

  • Quite shrewd your question, Vreni.
    You are right saying that once doesn't define precisely on a schedule the moment the event happened but it supposes that the event is completed, finished. Since the preterit is required.
  • Let's take ONCE as a conjunction.
    The preterit always refers to past in clauses introduced by ONCE.
    Once I was born, I was left to live.
    Once the weather was bright, we started for a stroll.


    Once Vreni texted his question, he waited for answers.


    But I wonder whether it is not also possible to use the past perfect in time clauses in sentences like the previous one:
    Once Vreni had texted his question, he got waiting for answers.


    But the past simple may not be used for event in the past; it is required for events in the future.
    Once I have got your agreement, I'll do it.
    Once the student has passed the exams, he will get a job.
    Once the weather has been brightening up, we will start.


    Once you have thought I am right, please tell me, Vreni.
    Once you have turned down my explanations, don't fail to tell me too.

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