I encountered this sentence and I am kind of confused by the tense that is used. It says 'my niece was born today'. Can anyone enlighten me about this?

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    It will be easier to provide a useful answer if you use the edit link under your question to tell us why the verb form was confuses you. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Nov 13 '16 at 5:39
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    Your sentence is in the passive voice, so "be" is an auxiliary verb. At the time of the utterance, your niece had already been born; the birth was an event that occurred in past time, i.e. earlier in the day, so past tense "was" is correct. Btw, in BrE the past participle form spelt "born" is restricted to the passive. – BillJ Nov 13 '16 at 8:52

You always use was/were with born when you talk about when or where someone started their life. For examples:

I was born in 1960.

He was born in London.

Even you can say "My niece was born today". My niece is born today is ungrammatical as it indicates a regular or repeated action of birth; you are born once, not again and again. However, the following sentence is correct grammatically as it indicates that the action is regular or repeated.

More children are born to older women today (nowadays).


It's past simple tense.

"Today" is a span of time, not an instant - you can use past, present, or future tenses with "today".

  • Actually, the OP's example is in the passive voice, so "is" is an auxiliary verb (past tense) and "born" is a past participle – BillJ Nov 13 '16 at 9:06
  • @BillJ You might enjoy this discussion of BE born on ELU, where John Lawler puts forth the delightful suggestion that this is a deponent verb. – StoneyB on hiatus Nov 13 '16 at 12:49

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