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(BBC)   BBC Article about Haiti earthquake that is written in a really odd past present future past tense that will have been making my head spin   (news.bbc.co.uk) divider line 67
    More: Interesting, Haiti, natural disasters, geological survey, tropical depression, tsunamis, Caribbean, places  
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10574 clicks; posted to Main » on 13 Jan 2010 at 4:16 PM (5 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2010-01-13 01:17:43 PM  
I'm reading that article yesterday, so I would have been getting a real kick out of some of these replies.
 
2010-01-13 01:23:12 PM  
You have rued the future!
 
2010-01-13 01:24:00 PM  
Submitter will have been right.
 
2010-01-13 01:34:20 PM  
"The major problem is quite simply one of grammar, and the main work to consult in this matter is Dr Dan Streetmentioner's Time Traveller's Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations. It will tell you for instance how to describe something that was about to happen to you in the past before you avoided it by time-jumping forward two days in order to avoid it. ... Most readers get as far as the Future Semi-Conditionally Modified Subinverted Plagal Past Subjunctive Intentional before giving up: and in fact in later editions of the book all the pages beyond this point have been left blank to save on printing costs."
 
2010-01-13 03:42:06 PM  
I will have been submitted this with a better headlining
 
2010-01-13 04:17:40 PM  
wibbly wobbly?
 
2010-01-13 04:17:54 PM  
Came for Dr. Dan Streetmentioner. Woill-on-having left satisfied.
 
2010-01-13 04:18:26 PM  
I can't wait to see how this would have turned out.
 
2010-01-13 04:19:28 PM  
I will have been with the Cocos Plate.
 
2010-01-13 04:20:16 PM  
Came here for the Milliways reference. Leaving full and satisfied.
 
2010-01-13 04:20:32 PM  
Maybe someone should have warned them about the upcoming earthquake?
 
2010-01-13 04:20:55 PM  
That's the future perfect. It seems they are using it in a very formal/technical sense.

I'm off to look this up.
 
2010-01-13 04:21:02 PM  
Local news anchor in DC reported that "thousand are expected to be dead."
 
2010-01-13 04:21:14 PM  
This hasn't ended well already.
 
2010-01-13 04:24:17 PM  
huh. seemed okay to me.
 
2010-01-13 04:26:20 PM  
stebain: huh. seemed okay to me.

You don't happen to be British, do you?

Everything I find on the future perfect says it's to be used for future events. Maybe I'm thinking too much about this.
 
2010-01-13 04:26:34 PM  
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is one of the most extraordinary ventures in the history of catering. It has been built on the fragmented remains of... it will be built on the fragmented... that is to say it will have been built by this time, and indeed has been-

One of the major problems encountered in time travel is not that of becoming your own father or mother. There is no problem in becoming your own father or mother that a broad-minded and well-adjusted family can't cope with. There is no problem with changing the course of history-the course of history does not change because it all fits together like a jigsaw. All the important changes have happened before the things they were supposed to change and it all sorts itself out in the end.

The major problem is simply one of grammar, and the main work to consult in this matter is Dr. Dan Streetmentioner's Time Traveler's Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations. It will tell you, for instance, how to describe something that was about to happen to you in the past before you avoided it by time-jumping forward two days in order to avoid it. The event will be descibed differently according to whether you are talking about it from the standpoint of your own natural time, from a time in the further future, or a time in the further past and is futher complicated by the possibility of conducting conversations while you are actually traveling from one time to another with the intention of becoming your own mother or father.

Most readers get as far as the Future Semiconditionally Modified Subinverted Plagal Past Subjunctive Intentional before giving up; and in fact in later aditions of the book all pages beyond this point have been left blank to save on printing costs.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy skips lightly over this tangle of academic abstraction, pausing only to note that the term "Future Perfect" has been abandoned since it was discovered not to be.

To resume:

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is one of the most extraordinary ventures in the history of catering.

It is built on the fragmented remains of an eventually ruined planet which is (wioll haven be) enclosed in a vast time bubble and projected forward in time to the precise moment of the End of the Universe.

This is, many would say, impossible.

In it, guests take (willan on-take) their places at table and eat (willan on-eat) sumptous meals while watching (willing watchen) the whole of creation explode around them.

This, many would say, is equally impossible.

You can arrive (mayan arrivan on-when) for any sitting you like without prior (late fore-when) reservation because you can book retrospectively, as it were, when you return to your own time (you can have on-book haventa forewhen presooning returningwenta retrohome).

This is, many would not insist, absolutely impossible.

At the restaurant you can meet and dine with (mayan meetan con with dinan on when) a fascinating cross-section of the entire population of space and time.

This, it can be explained patiently, is also impossible.

You can visit it as many times as you like (mayan on-visit re-onvisiting... and so on - for further tense correction consult Dr. Streetmentioner's book) and be sure of never meeting yourself, becauses of the embarrassment this usually causes.

This, even if the rest were true, which it isn't, is patently impossible, say the doubters.

All you have to do is deposit one penny in a savings account in your own era, and when you arrive at the End of Time the operations of compound interest means that the fabulous cost of your meal has been paid for.

This, many claim, is not merely impossible but clearly insane, which is why the advertising executives of the star system of Bastablon came up with this slogan: "If you've done six impossible things this morning, why not round it off with breakfast at Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe?"
 
2010-01-13 04:26:36 PM  
lucky this didn't happen in September with a Cat 5 Hurricane bearing on them.
 
2010-01-13 04:26:54 PM  
But it hasn't happened, has it? Is has will be have going to have happened, but it hasn't actually happen happened.

/No prizes
 
2010-01-13 04:28:01 PM  
That will have been some mighty fine writing there, Jonathan Amos, if you or your editor every will have finished editing the piece. My only suggestion will have been to become better versed in understanding that the earthquake already happened and therefore to learn how to describe past events in, you know, the past tense.
 
2010-01-13 04:28:03 PM  
If time travel were thrust upon us, would we develop a language to handle it? We'd need a basic past tense, an altered past tense, a potential past tense (might have been), an altered future tense, an excised future tense (for a future that can no longer happen), a home base present tense, a present-of-the-moment tense, an enclosed present tense (for use while the vehicle is moving through time), a future past tense ("I'll meet you at the bombing of Pearl Harbor in half an hour."), a past future tense ("Just a souvenir I picked up ten million years from now"), and many more. We'd need at least two directions of time flow: sequential personal time, and universal time, with a complete set of tenses for each. We'd need pronouns to distinguish [you of the past] from [you of the future] and [you of the present]. After all, the three of you might all be sitting around the same table someday.
 
2010-01-13 04:28:28 PM  
Nevermind, I get it.

/going to bed
 
2010-01-13 04:29:54 PM  
Anyway - cut n paste this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_perfect_tense
 
2010-01-13 04:31:26 PM  
Hmmm... from my understanding, the future perfect tense is used to refer to future events with a consequence in the more distant future. Ex. "Tomorrow, the rain will have already flooded the valley." However, since the earthquake has already happened, I don't really get why they are using the future perfect tense in that article, especially when the simple past would have been sufficient.
 
2010-01-13 04:31:32 PM  
At least they will have been consistent with their tenses throughout the article.

\annoying tense is annoying
 
2010-01-13 04:32:29 PM  
Limeys. What do you expect? Here's the real error:

Haiti quake: The worst of places for a big tremor

No, any place I am is the worst of places for a big tremor.
 
2010-01-13 04:36:48 PM  
The Sick tag would have been at home here.
 
2010-01-13 04:44:03 PM  
kidsizedcoffin: Maybe someone should have warned them about the upcoming earthquake?

I'm sure somebody will be warning them before the upcoming quake before it hasn't happened tomorrow yesterday in the future.
 
2010-01-13 04:46:14 PM  
Graduate from the Gallifreyan School Of Journalism, no doubt...
 
2010-01-13 04:48:42 PM  
When in doubt, blame the LHC and time travellers.
 
2010-01-13 04:54:43 PM  
Strobeguy: lucky this didn't happen in September with a Cat 5 Hurricane bearing on them.

Oh I don't know. Maybe a large amount of the detritus would have been washed and / or blown away then.

/window seat etc
 
2010-01-13 04:56:35 PM  
A thousand years ago, Gandahar was saved
In a thousand years, Gandahar will be destroyed
 
2010-01-13 04:57:30 PM  
You'll have this when the imaginary cubed earth has four simultaneous days with 1 rotation.
 
2010-01-13 05:05:30 PM  
Now my head hurts...
 
2010-01-13 05:11:17 PM  
Haiti quake: The worst of places for a big tremor

Headline fails on two fronts:

1. It's a dirt-poor country already so it's not as bad a place as Hong Kong, NYC or London. The ripple-effect of a catastrophic quake in one of those cities would be far worse.

2. Given its location near a fault boundary and in the hurricane belt, it would be more appropriate to say, "Haiti... the worst of places to build a city or, for that matter, anything."
 
2010-01-13 05:13:12 PM  
And now that I've actually read the article, that weird tense is exactly the way the BBC correspondents talk (with that annoying I'm-speaking-to-a-child affectation) on the live news show.
 
2010-01-13 05:13:22 PM  
I shall have been told there would not be being any grammar...
 
2010-01-13 05:21:48 PM  
From what I understand Dr. Evil's plan to flatten all civilization on Haiti to make way for his multi-TRILLION dollar resort is right on track.
 
2010-01-13 05:22:50 PM  
APPROVES

http://tinyurl.com/yjk4oku

Copy and paste, sort of NSFWish
 
2010-01-13 05:38:40 PM  
This will not have been the bestest headline...
 
2010-01-13 05:55:33 PM  
The last sentence: "Haiti can at least call on the expertise and response systems put in place to deal with those emergencies, although the people who normally co-ordinate that effort will be reeling with the rest of the population."

So they can't "at least" call on them? Perhaps, "Normally they could call on the level of incompetence to which the Haitian people have become accustomed...."
 
2010-01-13 06:01:21 PM  
Came here for the Restaurant references. Leaving very satisfied.
/but not leaving in Disaster Area's stuntship.
 
2010-01-13 06:06:01 PM  
stebain: huh. seemed okay to me.

This. I had to read the offending passages before spotting anything objectionable. They're simply using this tense to indicate speculation. Similar to a phrase like "it must have hurt", where must doesn't indicate necessity.

Google's dictionary entry on will says "You use will have with a past participle to indicate that you are fairly sure that something is the case". Granted, it's the 15th and final sense of will given, but come on..
 
2010-01-13 06:13:08 PM  
eddie van heinous: And now that I've actually read the article, that weird tense is exactly the way the BBC correspondents talk (with that annoying I'm-speaking-to-a-child affectation) on the live news show.

And now that I've actually read the article I can't find anything weird about the tense at all. Which parts were supposed to have weird tense?
 
2010-01-13 06:19:25 PM  
Red Dwarf
 
2010-01-13 06:28:39 PM  
Whilst it was spelt correctly...
 
2010-01-13 06:41:11 PM  
don't read that article when you are high.
 
2010-01-13 07:46:18 PM  
Use of future tense for a past event like this is confusing because the news article is not confirming anything by use of 'would be'. Obfuscated and smacks a little of pontification.

Zero need for it, past tense and simple facts please....
 
2010-01-13 07:55:01 PM  
Masterdog: But it hasn't happened, has it? Is has will be have going to have happened, but it hasn't actually happen happened.

/No prizes


Top Dwarfing, nonetheless
 
2010-01-13 07:55:57 PM  
NicoFinn: stebain: huh. seemed okay to me.

You don't happen to be British, do you?

Everything I find on the future perfect says it's to be used for future events. Maybe I'm thinking too much about this.


American of British mother (actually born in Coventry myself, but moved here for good when I was seven)
 
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