Past tense in passing

Tryg Helseth tryg at
Thu Jul 27 02:47:23 CEST 2000

At 12:00 PM 7/26/00 +0200, bhc at wrote:

>Paolo wrote:
>>HDL ask Donald "Unca Donald, who *WAS* Carl Barks?"... and the
>>was is also in bold fonts! Carl **IS** the greatest comic book
>>artist of all times, not "was"!!!!!
>We American speakers often use the past tense, with emphasis, by 
>default when asking questions of that nature. I'm not sure why this 


I agree.  It reminds me of how the old Lone Ranger episodes ended where after he rode off  someone would ask, "Who WAS that masked man?"  He is still alive and presumably masked, but is no longer present on the scene.    


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