Were Born/ Are (is) Born

Hi Everyone

I read an article, Stephen King said : Good teachers can be trained, if they really want to learn (some are pretty lazy). Great teachers, like Socrates, are born.

We usually say : I was born in …

What does it mean to use “are born” here ? (throwback my memories, I read the explanation somewhere in this forum but cannot remember it). Is that they were born and meant to be great teachers without any need of training ? something like in their blood, their destiny.

They have a natural teaching ability, rather than a learned one.

He was born to dance.
= He has a natural dancing ability

Hi Bee,

Thank you for your explanation, but why Stephen used “are born” not “were born” ?
are you trying to infer that “were born” = no natural dancing ability vs. “are born” = a natural dancing ability.
is it correct ?

Just a couple of words: I think King meant you couldn’t train a good teacher to be great, it takes something you should be born with.

No, that is not the inference.
King was speaking about people in general, therefore the present tense is appropriate.
All people are born with certain basic needs.

My example referred to a hypothetical living ‘he’. The past tense is appropriate as ‘he’ has already been born.
The twins were born with hearing problems.

Thank you Bee.
Correct me if I’m wrong.
“Great teachers, like Socrates, are born”. That is the general truth (according to him). So King used the “present tense”, are born to apply for the general great teachers.
Normally, We speak about particular person, the past tense “Was/were born” would be the correct choice.

One more thing I would like to know is whether it is correct to use the past tense in the king’s sentence. It’s acceptable or carries different meaning ?


I think this is a bit off beam:

The use of the past here refers to the fact the signs of the condition/ability of the individual were apparent at the time of birth. Whether those individuals are now alive or dead is irrelevant. The use of the present in this is because this is a statement:

‘Born’ is used attributively and suggests ‘natural’. It is simply a statement and would be the same as saying: Great teachers are Greek.

The past tense would be incorrect in Stephen King’s sentence.

Thank you Alan and Bee. You are the great teachers :slight_smile: and I really appreciate it.
Have a nice day.