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  1. #1
    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Default report (v) = to relate / to inform on

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to give me your considered opinion concerning the interpretation of the verb in the expressions in bold in the following sentences?

    We reported the information to the authorities.

    report = to relate

    We reported him to the police for violating an ordinance.

    report = to inform on

    V.

  2. #2
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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: report (v) = to relate / to inform on

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    We reported the information to the authorities......report = to relate

    We reported him to the police for violating an ordinance......report = to inform on
    Close.

    The point about 'report ... to' in these examples is that it has an official tone. You report something, usually a breach of some form of law, rule or code, to somebody who is in a position to do something about it . 'Relate' has more of an idea of just a narrative:

    He reported the mugging to the police, and then related the events to a reporter.

    'Inform on' has some overtones of doing something sneaky or ignoble.

    In dictatorships, people are encouraged to inform on their friends and neighbours.

    People who inform on others may well do so in secret.

  3. #3
    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: report (v) = to relate / to inform on

    Thank you for your helpful remarks.

    What do you think about the following further interpretations of the verb in question?

    She reports directly to the dean.

    report = to answer to

    Several people reported having seen the stolen car.

    report = to make known

    The fire was reported to be burning out of control.

    The patrol reported the entire area cleared.

    They reported how the incident took place.

    report = to describe

    V.
    Last edited by vil; 08-Jul-2011 at 18:13.

  4. #4
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    Route21 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: report (v) = to relate / to inform on

    1. She reports directly to the dean - report = to answer to
    2. Several people reported [to the police] having seen the stolen car - see 5jj's comment on the "official" reports.
    3. The patrol reported [to their commanding officer] the entire area cleared. - see 5jj's "official" comment on the "official" reports.
    4. The fire was reported to be burning out of control - report = to describe
    5. They reported how the incident took place - report = to describe

    Whilst 2 and 3 are essentially reporting (upwards) to the appropriate authorities that can do something with or about the information, 4 and 5 are more akin to people disseminating the news (outwards) to the "outside world".

    Item 5 could also be read in an "official" context, but would probably be modified to say: "They submitted a report on/about how the incident took place".

    As a side note, I would recommend the Free Dictionary, which lists not only the various meanings of such words (separately in AME and BrE) but also examples of their usage in each case, plus a thesaurus, plus translations of the various meanings into other languages (including Bulgarian) which may also help. See: report - definition of report by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.

    Hope this helps
    R21

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