GYG 23. Past present (PP) for news(paper) readers.

Have you ever read news articles and wondered why they often start with the past present aka present perfect form? Check this out.

“Two 15 year olds have been arrested in connection with a knife attack on a 14 year old in London”

What is ‘NEWS’? It’s new information for somebody. When did the action or event take place? In the past, however, the time isn’t given* or even known. The connection to the PRESENT is the new information. *(if so the simple past tense would be correct)

Here are a couple of other examples from the BBC News app.

Coronavirus “Hong Kong has begun a mandatory two-week quarantine for anyone arriving from mainland China.”

“Senior Conservatives have written to Tory MPs to raise concerns about the government’s decision to allow Huawei to play a role in the UK’s 5G network”

“A criminal gang that trafficked tonnes of stolen waste cardboard from Madrid to Asian countries has been shut down, Spanish police say”

In all of the above you could also give another reason for the use of the PP, namely, the RESULT now of a past action/event.

“Two 15 year olds have been arrested in connection with a knife attack on a 14 year old in London”

They were arrested sometime in the past (not really important when). What is the result NOW? They are off the streets and in police custody.

Here are possible conclusions for the other news item.

“Hong Kong has begun a mandatory two-week quarantine for anyone arriving from mainland China.”

Result: Hong Kong is taking action to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

“Senior Conservatives have written to Tory MPs to raise concerns about the government’s decision to allow Huawei to play a role in the UK’s 5G network”

Result: Senior Conservatives are warning their colleagues about Huawei.

“A criminal gang that trafficked tonnes of stolen waste cardboard from Madrid to Asian countries has been shut down, Spanish police say”

Result: The gang can’t operate anymore.

More practically, you can use this idea in a whole host of situations:

  1. “I’ve lost my keys” – RESULT: you can’t get in to the room/building.
  2. “We’ve (already) seen the film (before)” – RESULT: don’t want to watch again/want to watch another
  3. “Oh, shit, I’ve left my wallet at home” – RESULT: I can’t pay for something
  4. “I’ve made you a cup of tea” – RESULT: It’s there for you, please drink it / why don’t you drink it?
  5. “I’ve booked the holiday” – RESULT: Yippee we can look forward to a holiday.

I hope that has cleared things up a bit – RESULT: you understand this use of the PP better now!!!!!

to wonder (sich fragen), aka – also known as (auch bekannt als), to arrest sb (jdn festnehmen), in connection with (in Zusammenhang mit), mandatory (zwingend), Conservatives (Konservative Partei in Großbritannien), Tory (Spitzname der Konservative Partei in GB), to raise concerns (Bedenken aufkommen lassen), decision (Entscheidung), to allow (erlauben), cardboard (Karton), to shut sth down (etw stilllegen), conclusion (Schlußfolgerung), police custody (Polizeigewahrsam), to take action (Maßnahmen ergreifen), to prevent (verhindern), spread (Ausbreitung), a whole host of (eine ganze Reihe von), wallet (Portemonnaie), to look forward to sth (sich auf etw freuen), to clear sth up (etw klären).

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