I was wondering how I should say this:

- She is my ex-girlfriend

or

- She was my ex-girlfriend

and

- They are former classmates

or

- They were former classmates
1 2
spongebob123I was wondering how I should say these.
- She is my ex-girlfriend. [Y]

- She was my ex-girlfriend. [Y] She's dead.

- They are former classmates.[Y]

- They were former classmates. [Y] At least one of them is dead.
c45
Hi canadian45, thanks for responding. For the statement "She was my ex-girlfriend", I could mean that she used to be my ex-girlfriend in the past and now isn't. And not necessarily means she is dead. Just like when I say "She was my neighbour", I mean she used to be my neighbour in the past and not now. What do you think about this?

Does anyone have a second opinion?
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spongebob123For the statement "She was my ex-girlfriend", I could mean that she used to be my ex-girlfriend in the past and now isn't. And not necessarily means she is dead. Well the only other way she could be your 'ex-girlfriend and still be living' is if she now is your girlfriend again or is now your wife. But that would be an odd thing to say in that circumstance, and I didn't think that is what you meant.

Just like when I say "She was my neighbour", I mean she used to be my neighbour in the past and not now. But there is a big diference. You didn't say 'ex-neighbor'.

Why don't you explain what the situation is and tell us what you want to say.

And why don't you have the same objection about the (former)(ex-) classmates answer? (former = ex)
c45
Hi canadian45,

Ok, what i want to say is she was my girlfriend in the past and not now. And for the classmates, they were classmates in the past and not now. It is because everything was in the past that I think I should use the past tense in the statements. Am I wrong?

So do you mean that I shouldn't use the past tense "was" as in "She was my ex-girlfriend" because the "ex" sort of 'offset' the past tense that is needed to describe something in the past? So if I should use the past tense "was", I should say it as "She was my girlfriend" omitting the "ex" here. Hope you know what I am saying. The same thing applies to "They are former classmates" because the word "former" takes out the "were" needed in the statement to describe they used to be classmates in the past. If I want to use the past tense "were", I should say it as "They were classmates" without the word "former" in it. Am I right so far? Thank you.
spongebob123Ok, what I want to say is she was my girlfriend in the past and not now. And for the classmates, they were classmates in the past and not now. It is because everything was in the past that I think I should use the past tense in the statements. Am I wrong? no So do you mean that I shouldn't use the past tense "was" as in "She was my ex-girlfriend" (not unless she's dead) because the "ex" replaces the past tense that is needed to describe something in the past? yes
So if I should use the past tense "was", I should say it as "She was my girlfriend", omitting the "ex" here. yes

Hope you know what I am saying. I do.

The same thing applies to "They are former classmates" because the word "former" takes out the "were" needed in the statement to describe they used to be classmates in the past. yes If I want to use the past tense "were", I should say it as "They were classmates" without the word "former" in it. Am I right so far? yes
c45

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Thank you very much, canadian45. I am clear about it now. By the way, all the people I mentioned in the statements are alive. I appreciate your time and effort spent to explain it to me. Once again, thanks. Have a Happy New Year!

A classmate presents on the class.

How I should say this sentence in past tence

He was my ex schoolmate
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