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    #1

    the third man to be murdered

    He is the third man to be murdered on the corner of the Donegall Road and the Falls Road in the past two years.

    I searched the BNC and came across this sentence and thought it was not grammatically correct but I'm not very sure:

    1. 'Is' should have been 'has been' since the time adverbial is 'in the past two years'.

    2. 'The' shouldn't be put before the name of the two roads.

    3. It seems to be more grammatical to say 'He is the third man to have been murdered...' since he has been killed. (That is, if we don't want to change 'is' to 'has been'.)

    How would you native speakers express yourselves in such a situation?

    Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by joham; 21-Sep-2008 at 02:41. Reason: one sentence added.

  1. SUDHKAMP's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: the third man to be murdered

    I am not a teacher of English. Just someone who loves the language.

    ______________________

    In a news report, the reporting is done in present perfect continuous. Hence you can use 'he is the third man to be murdered............'!

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    #3

    Re: the third man to be murdered

    Quote Originally Posted by SUDHKAMP View Post
    I am not a teacher of English. Just someone who loves the language.

    ______________________

    In a news report, the reporting is done in present perfect continuous. Hence you can use 'he is the third man to be murdered............'!
    Thanks. But there's no present perfect contiuous at all in the sentence.

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    #4

    Re: the third man to be murdered

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    He is the third man to be murdered on the corner of the Donegall Road and the Falls Road in the past two years.

    I searched the BNC and came across this sentence and thought it was not grammatically correct but I'm not very sure:

    1. 'Is' should have been 'has been' since the time adverbial is 'in the past two years'. No, "is" is perfectly fine; it denotes a current fact. I would not use "has been"; it sounds very odd and I don't even think that people who are very fond of perfect tense would use it. (but I could be wrong)

    2. 'The' shouldn't be put before the name of the two roads. I agree, unless "the" is part of the names of the two roads.

    3. It seems to be more grammatical to say 'He is the third man to have been murdered...' since he has been killed. (That is, if we don't want to change 'is' to 'has been'.) It is not more grammatical, but you can use "to have been murdered'.
    In this context, "to be murdered" also means he has been killed, and "be" is more efficent than "have been".

    How would you native speakers express yourselves in such a situation?

    Thank you in advance.
    2006


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    #5

    Re: the third man to be murdered

    When a noun refers to specific names or proper nouns, we use the definite article because they are unique.
    How many queens and popes have their been throughout history? Yet we say 'the Queen' and 'the Pope' because we are referring to specific individuals.
    Similarly, we say 'the Pyramids' and everybody knows what you are referring to - despite any other pyramid structures anywhere else in the world.

    In the UK, we talk about 'the High street', referring to the main shopping street in a town. And in the UK,' Donegall Road' and 'Falls Road' are notorious, at one time constantly in the news at the height of the violence in Northern Ireland. They are specific, unique, quite distinct from any other Donegall roads or Falls roads anywhere else in the UK. Hence, we indicate that we are talking about that Donegall Road, the Donegall Road in Belfast, by the use of the definite article.
    In London, we refer to 'the Edgware Road' as in this ad:

    "It is conveniently located in Colindale NW9 at the rear of the parade of shops along the Edgware Road."
    Last edited by David L.; 21-Sep-2008 at 10:32.

  2. Soup's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: the third man to be murdered

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    He is the third man to be murdered on the corner of the Donegall Road and the Falls Road in the past two years.

    How would you native speakers express yourselves in such a situation?
    1. 'Is' can be has been, true, but in journalistic form, the present tense is often used because it expresses the factual.

    2. I agree with you here, 'the' sounds odd before the names of the two roads--at least in my dialect.

    3. Even though it seems to be more grammatical to say '... to have been murdered...', again, we are dealing with journalese: keep it simple and short.

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    #7

    Re: the third man to be murdered

    "...the Donegall Road and the Falls Road in the past two years."

    In British English, as David L has said, this is perectly correct and usual.

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    #8

    Re: the third man to be murdered

    Thank you all very much. I have another two questions to ask you:

    Can we leave out 'to be' without changing the meaning of the original?
    He is the third man (to be) murdered on the corner of the Donegall Road and the Falls Road in the past two years.

    And can we add 'to be' to this sentence:

    This is the first event (to be) organised by Network Craigavon and was a co-operative effort by members of the different groups that make up the Network.

    Thank you all again.

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    #9

    Re: the third man to be murdered

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    Thank you all very much. I have another two questions to ask you:

    Can we leave out 'to be' without changing the meaning of the original? yes
    He is the third man (to be) murdered on the corner of the Donegall Road and the Falls Road in the past two years.

    And can we add 'to be' to this sentence:

    This is the first event (to be) organised by Network Craigavon and was a co-operative effort by members of the different groups that make up the Network. Yes, but if the sentence ended with "Craigavon", we wouldn't know if the sentence is talking about a past or a future event. In that shorter sentence, you would have to use 'to have been oranized' in order to make it clear that the event already happened.
    I hope this is clear.

    Thank you all again.
    2006

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    #10

    Re: the third man to be murdered

    2. 'The' shouldn't be put before the name of the two roads. I agree, unless "the" is part of the names of the two roads.
    ...which, in this case, it is. They are very famous roads, always reported in this way.

    b

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