A good example of misuse of tense

rogersgeorge on August 30th, 2010

Present perfect, to be exact. First, a photo:

Mt. Sinabung, in Sumatra

This long-dormant volcano erupted August 29, much to everyone’s surprise. After all, when your local mountain sits quietly for four centuries, you don’t exactly expect things to start jumping. It was so unexpected, even the news media got their English wrong. You knew I was going to get around to grammar, somehow, right? Here’s the quote:

As of Sunday afternoon, 50 tons of rice and 12,000 face masks have been supplied to temporary shelters.

This was written on Monday. Sunday is in the past. Since the time frame is explicitly in the past, the over-excited writer (and the editor!) should have used the past perfect, “…had been supplied…” Re-read the sentence with “had.” It reads smoother, doesn’t it? Harrumpf.

Please don’t think I’m trivializing a fairly serious event for the residents of the area. I am, however, keeping my promise to include more pictures in this blog’s posts.

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