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Thread: missing

  1. #1
    Offroad's Avatar
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    Default missing

    Dear friends

    He's gone missing.
    He's been missing.
    He is missing.


    What are the differences between them?

    Many thanks

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: missing

    There's plenty of overlap between them, but I would use 3 if the person has not arrived somewhere, 1 if they came and left or simply left, and 2 to say how long.
    Last edited by Tdol; 13-Jul-2010 at 06:45. Reason: adding 'not'

  3. #3
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    Default Re: missing

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I would use 3 if the person has arrived somewhere.
    I couldn't get this, if someone is missing, how could we possibly be knowing that they have arrived somewhere?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: missing

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    I couldn't get this, if someone is missing, how could we possibly be knowing that they have arrived somewhere?
    I think I can get what Tdol meant. Let's say everyone is at work and Mr X definitely arrived at work that day. Then there is a fire alarm and everyone has to leave the building. Someone is responsible for checking that everyone in the office has made it out safely so they call people by name. When they get to Mr X, there is no reply. However, everyone knows he was definitely in the building. After checking several times, the checker can say "Mr X is missing", meaning "He is not here and I don't know where he is".

  5. #5
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    Default Re: missing

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I think I can get what Tdol meant. Let's say everyone is at work and Mr X definitely arrived at work that day. Then there is a fire alarm and everyone has to leave the building. Someone is responsible for checking that everyone in the office has made it out safely so they call people by name. When they get to Mr X, there is no reply. However, everyone knows he was definitely in the building. After checking several times, the checker can say "Mr X is missing", meaning "He is not here and I don't know where he is".
    What I infer from your example is a confirmation of the very reason which was behind my question. And my inference is that Mr. X arrived anywhere but here. So, when someone's whereabouts is not know (let's say, for 24hrs to be officially called "missing"), others don't know where they might be, thus where they may have arrived is out of question. Ok, I know that when someone gets Y(an unknown place) from X(the last seen place), yes ,they arrived Y, but I don't think people talk about the missing persons arriving places, people talk about where they are. But if you think what Tdol( a native-speaker) said sounds natural to you (also a native-speaker),
    then my reasoning has some flaws, and I'd be happy if you show me where in my reasoning they may be.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: missing

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    What I infer from your example is a confirmation of the very reason which was behind my question. And my inference is that Mr. X arrived anywhere but here. So, when someone's whereabouts is not know (let's say, for 24hrs to be officially called "missing"), others don't know where they might be, thus where they may have arrived is out of question. Ok, I know that when someone gets Y(an unknown place) from X(the last seen place), yes ,they arrived Y, but I don't think people talk about the missing persons arriving places, people talk about where they are. But if you think what Tdol( a native-speaker) said sounds natural to you (also a native-speaker),
    then my reasoning has some flaws, and I'd be happy if you show me where in my reasoning they may be.
    I think the point is that there is a difference between being "missing", presumably fairly temporarily, as in my example, ie simply missing from where we knew they were fairly recently; and the more serious "missing" when it might become a police issue - someone has actually vanished and isn't in any of the places where you might expect to look for them. In that situation, I would be inclined to use "He's gone missing".

    I've tried to come up with some conversational examples for the three sentences you gave:

    Me: I thought John was coming to the party.
    You: Yes, so did I.
    Me: I haven't seen him. Have you?
    You: No, I haven't seen him either.
    Friend: Hi, you two, where's John?
    Me: We were just talking about that. He's missing.
    Friend: Oh well, maybe he'll come later.

    Me: I just saw lots of police cars outside your house. What's going on?
    You: Oh, it's my brother.
    Me: What's happened?
    You: He's gone missing. No-one's seen him since 7pm last night. We're really worried.

    Me: Have they found your brother yet?
    You: No.
    Me: How long has it been now?
    You: He's been missing for nine days.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: missing

    emsr2d2, thank you very much for your elaborate reply.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: missing

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    I couldn't get this, if someone is missing, how could we possibly be knowing that they have arrived somewhere?

    Ooops- I meant 'not arrived'

  9. #9
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    Default Re: missing

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    I couldn't get this, if someone is missing, how could we possibly be knowing that they have arrived somewhere?
    This use of 'know' in the progressive tense doesn't sound colloquial at all.

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