I have been corrected twice in the sentence

I was not alive, at that point in time.

We were having a discussion involving life in the 1980s, and at some point I said I was not alive so I would not know. Someone corrected me saying the correct way of saying it is I was not born at point in time.

To me it seems perfectly grammatically correct to say I was not alive, for it is a true statement. It seems to me that saying I was not alive means that I was dead before, which then turns it into a philosophical argument.

I was not alive at the point in time.

This seems to be equally valid with I was not born or I did not exist.

Is it just context or it is just the way we say it just because? Am I correct to keep saying I was not alive?

  • You mean no one corrected your redundancy in "that point in time"? Find more amenable partners for conversation.
    – deadrat
    Nov 13, 2015 at 18:48
  • "Correctedness"? Really?
    – Robusto
    Nov 13, 2015 at 18:57
  • It's not incorrect, but I would've said I had not yet been born.
    – Anonym
    Nov 13, 2015 at 19:37

1 Answer 1


You might want to remove the comma so that it reads, "I was not alive at that point in time." Other than that, there appears to be nothing grammatically wrong.

The argument is likely a philosophical one at heart, due to the ambiguous definition of when we "become alive," if we inherit the liveliness of our parents, etc.

If you want to avoid didactism and mantra, suggest that you weren't born at that point. A sentence like "I wasn't born yet" does suffice, since you are conveying the same sentiment without giving anyone the ability to inject their philosophy into an argument.

  • The comma can be removed, but there is no comma splice here.
    – Drew
    Nov 13, 2015 at 18:56
  • I suppose you're right! I'll fix that.
    – Mudly
    Nov 13, 2015 at 19:04
  • they kept telling me I cannot say I was not alive because that implies that I was dead before. Nov 13, 2015 at 20:26
  • 1
    The reason they keep telling you that is because they're wrong. "The rock was not alive" doesn't mean the rock was dead before. The matter which comprises you existed at that point in time (whatever that point may be), as it's existed since the birth of the universe. That doesn't mean the matter was "dead" before it was you, merely that it hadn't been aggregated into a "you shape" and imbued with the spark of life. The absence of life isn't death, but the departure of life is. It must first be present in order to depart.
    – Misneac
    Nov 13, 2015 at 21:02

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