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Here's a context. A person has changed his main Facebook email address to example@gmail.com. His previous email address is/was foobar@gmail.com. Assuming that the person will never change his Facebook email address anymore, I have this sentence:

The email address that was associated with his Facebook account is foobar@gmail.com.

I was thinking that is foobar@gmail.com can be correct since the previous email address will never change (i.e., in the future, the previous email address would still be foobar@gmail.com). On the other hand, using was foobar@gmail.com sounds natural but I don't understand why it would be correct because I thought that was is used to refer to a past event and foobar@gmail.com is not an event.

I appreciate if someone could help me with my confusion. Thanks.

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It might be best to use was since it is in the past.

The email address that was associated with his Facebook account was foobar@gmail.com.

Your confusion might be from

The email address is foobar@gmail.com, that was associated with his Facebook account is foobar@gmail.com.

Q: What was associated with his Facebook account?
A: That email address is foobar@gmail.com.

But using "was", eventhough repetitive, would be best.

The email address was foobar@gmail.com, that was associated with his Facebook account is foobar@gmail.com.

Q: What was associated with his Facebook account?
A: That email address was foobar@gmail.com.

  • Peter, do you mean that using is is wrong? – user1764381 Aug 4 '17 at 12:46
  • Not at all, but there may be an ambiguity using "is". In my second example (which is the same as your example), what is being talked about is the email address at that time, this is established with additional context. You would be able to use "was" without all the additional context but most people would still understand what you are saying if you use "is". – Peter Aug 6 '17 at 12:05

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