tense

The BBC is not supposed to editorialize about the news.

This is an example sentence from the LDOCE.

My questions are:

Did the editor give the editorial or not?

When can this comment be made, right after or before?

 

Thanks.

Original Post
ruifeng posted:

The BBC is not supposed to editorialize about the news. [. . .]

Did the editor give the editorial or not?

Hi, Ruifeng,

It appears that you are misunderstanding the example sentence, which is used to illustrate the definition of "editorialize": "to give your opinion and not just the facts about something." There is no editor under discussion.

If you wish to understand the sentence, simply use the definition in place of the word: "The BBC is not supposed to [give its opinion and not just the facts about] the news." The sentence is not talking about an editor or an editorial.

ruifeng posted:
When can this comment be made, right after or before?

The comment "The BBC is not supposed to editorialize about the news" can be made at any time -- before, during, or after the news. Depending on the case, the comment will function either as advice or as criticism.

ruifeng posted:

when the comment works as criticism after the news, could we also use simple past instead of simple present?

Well, Ruifeng, do you understand the difference between these two sentences and how each can work as criticism after the news?

(a) The BBC should not editorialize about the news.
(b) The BBC should not have editorialized about the news.

The present-tense version of the sentence you have asked about is equivalent in meaning to (a), and the simple-past version of it is equivalent in meaning to (b).

If you can't understand how (a) and (b) work, I shall have to go to greater lengths to answer your question. Please let me know if you still don't understand.

Thank you, David. You really are a great mentor!

To me, (a) means a piece of warning advice that tells someone not to do something if he is wise enough, but I am not sure if it can also work as criticism after someone did something a short time ago or the influence of a past event is still fresh. (b) works as a comment about a past event that belongs completely to the past.

That is my understanding.

Thanks so much.

 

ruifeng posted:

To me, (a) means a piece of warning advice that tells someone not to do something if he is wise enough, but I am not sure if it can also work as criticism after someone did something a short time ago or the influence of a past event is still fresh. (b) works as a comment about a past event that belongs completely to the past.

Hello again, Ruifeng,

You are right about (b). In order to see how (a) can work "as criticism after someone did something a short time ago or [when] the influence of a past event is still fresh," you need to understand the timelessness of a general rule.

For example, if you said, "My dog barking right now," I might say, "You are supposed to use the progressive auxiliary verb (a form of "be") when using a progressive tense." Or I might say, "You should use the progressive auxiliary."

If I said either of those things, I would be stating a general rule that applies to the present, to the past, and to the future. It applies at all times. Therefore if you had just said, "My dog barking right now," my comment would function as criticism.

Now, I could have said, "You should have used the progressive auxiliary verb." In that case, I would only be talking about the past. But I want you to be cautious now and in the future about the same thing, so I use the other formulation.

Is it starting to make sense to you now?

I think I understand now. But I need your confirmation.(And I have decided to be an English teacher for elementary school students. That is a huge responsibility. I need to be extremely strict with myself. If you could also be extremely strict with me, I would be very very grateful! I hope I can do a good job and be a good teacher like you. )

 In the two examples of yours, if your choice is "You should use the progressive auxiliary.", it means you think the mistake I made shows that it is necessary to tell me the rule again. You are not talking about the mistake or correcting the mistake directly. It's kind of like you are telling me the rule,but I need to correct the mistake myself.(Should I use the full stop after auxiliary?)

 If you choose the other option, it is like you are correcting this particular mistake ofmine and at the same time you hope that I apply this rule well and won't make the same mistake in the future. 

 The result is the same, but from two different angles? 

 But you said, "...my comment would function as criticism." Does it mean that your first choice implies something harsh? And What exactly is criticism? Is it bad? I think it can be both positive and negative. 

 Sorry for the trouble.

Ruifeng,

First off, I agree with everything David has said.

You said:

 In the two examples of yours, if your choice is "You should use the progressive auxiliary.", it means you think the mistake I made shows that it is necessary to tell me the rule again. You are not talking about the mistake or correcting the mistake directly. It's kind of like you are telling me the rule,but I need to correct the mistake myself.

I don't mean to speak for David, but I agree with your interpretation.

You said:

Should I use the full stop after auxiliary?

Before I answer your question (strictly speaking), I must advise you that, in order to convey your meaning properly, you need to put quotation marks around the word "auxiliary", or italicize it.  Otherwise, the question lends itself to myriad misinterpretations.

As to whether you should use a full stop after the word "auxiliary" in this context, I like it, but I have some unconventional views regarding how punctuation should work within direct quotations.  I hope that my views will someday prevail, but in the meantime, for the sake of your students, I hope that you will take David's advice rather than mine about what is currently acceptable.

As to your subsequent two paragraphs, I agree with your interpretation of what I think David meant.  Sorry to be so roundabout, but I've been guilty in the past of putting words in David's mouth that he never really said.

Finally, you say:

What exactly is criticism? Is it bad? I think it can be both positive and negative.

You are exactly right.  "Criticism" essentially means "evaluation".  We writers and musicians welcome "constructive criticism" from our knowledgeable public.  Sometimes it means "This doesn't work.".  Sometimes it amounts to "Don't change a thing.".

However, when the word "criticism" is used unmodified, it is usually meant and understood to mean "finding fault".  The same is true of the verb form "criticize".

You wrote:

I have decided to be an English teacher for elementary school students. That is a huge responsibility.

I appreciate your decision to do this.  I agree that it is a huge responsibility, and I hope that you know that you can count on me and my colleagues to support you.

You wrote:

If you could also be extremely strict with me, I would be very very grateful!

My passport has expired.  I need to get that taken care of.

Thank you for the trouble.  The best of the new year to you.

DocV

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