Tuesday, 10 April 2012


It seems almost standard to say in the broadcast media things like 'He was a former Cabinet minister' or even 'You were a former TV producer' (Woman's Hour just now). Surely this is a kind of double past and it should be 'you are' (still are, you are still alive). Why does this kind of duplication (redundancy, I think is the term) happen? Is it related to what I call 'word inflation'? Extra syllables, extra words, extra tenses?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Note. Twas me sent deleted text becase there is no facility to edit or correct a sent maessage.

    It may be that they ae using it as a form of emphasis or because the interviewer, having said 'was', feels the point that they were'former' might not have registered.