to play out

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CuriousT

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Hi,

I have a question about the phrase "to play out". What does it mean in the following context?

"It has become commonplace to observe the sharp polarization of the electorate in the 2004 campaign. But that is playing out even in public reaction to the scandal over the American abuse of some detainees in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison."

From the context, it seems to mean something like "to unfold" or "to develop". I checked more than 10 dictionaries (for native speakers as well as for ESL learners), but none of them gives a definition that fits in this context. Is this a relatively new usage?

Thank you in advance for your help.

CuriousT
 

Casiopea

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CuriousT said:
Hi,

I have a question about the phrase "to play out". What does it mean in the following context?

"It has become commonplace to observe the sharp polarization of the electorate in the 2004 campaign. But that is playing out even in public reaction to the scandal over the American abuse of some detainees in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison."

From the context, it seems to mean something like "to unfold" or "to develop". I checked more than 10 dictionaries (for native speakers as well as for ESL learners), but none of them gives a definition that fits in this context. Is this a relatively new usage?

Thank you in advance for your help.

CuriousT

Unfolding sounds great. Also, it's happening. :D
 

japanjapan

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CuriousT said:
"It has become commonplace to observe the sharp polarization of the electorate in the 2004 campaign. But that is playing out even in public reaction to the scandal over the American abuse of some detainees in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison."
CuriousT

Dear teachers,
I read that sentence and the explanation, but I still do not understand the meaning of the sentence.
What does the whole sentence mean?
What is "the sharp polarization of the electorate in the 2004 campaign"?
What is "polarization"?
What does "play out" mean, can u give me another clear and easier explanation?

thanks a lot
 

Casiopea

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japanjapan said:
CuriousT said:
"It has become commonplace to observe the sharp polarization of the electorate in the 2004 campaign. But that is playing out even in public reaction to the scandal over the American abuse of some detainees in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison."
CuriousT

Dear teachers,
I read that sentence and the explanation, but I still do not understand the meaning of the sentence.
What does the whole sentence mean?
What is "the sharp polarization of the electorate in the 2004 campaign"?
What is "polarization"?
What does "play out" mean, can u give me another clear and easier explanation?

thanks a lot

I'm not 100% sure, so take this with a grain of salt: given that polarize means, among other things, directly opposite in character, I believe the sentence in question, or rather, the writer's view of the situation has to do with shedding light on inconsistencies: the public, like the electorate seem to be switching their views and opinions in accordance with the amount of new information, constantly coming to light via the media. General opinions fluctuate because of the inconsistencies resulting from the way in which the media reports the news.
 
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Susie Smith

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Casiopea said:
japanjapan said:
CuriousT said:
"It has become commonplace to observe the sharp polarization of the electorate in the 2004 campaign. But that is playing out even in public reaction to the scandal over the American abuse of some detainees in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison."
CuriousT

Dear teachers,
I read that sentence and the explanation, but I still do not understand the meaning of the sentence.
What does the whole sentence mean?
What is "the sharp polarization of the electorate in the 2004 campaign"?
What is "polarization"?
What does "play out" mean, can u give me another clear and easier explanation?

thanks a lot

I'm not 100% sure, so take this with a grain of salt: given that polarize means, among other things, directly opposite in character, I believe the sentence in question, or rather, the writer's view of the situation has to do with shedding light on inconsistencies: the public, like the electorate seem to be switching their views and opinions in accordance with the amount of new information, constantly coming to light via the media. General opinions fluctuate because of the inconsistencies resulting from the way in which the media reports the news.

Let me add my two cents worth to this topic. The main meaning of "play out" which I am familiar with is "to bring to an end" or "exhaust". Look, the second sentence in the quote begins with "but", which is a sure sign of contrast. Right? I think the passage means that public opinion was sharply divided, but due to the horrors (IMO) disclosed recently, public opinion is no longer so divided. Does this make sense to you?
 

Tdol

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While 'play out' can carry Susie's meaning, I agree with Cas's meaning- it can mean both, though they are rather contradictory. I just think it means 'happening' or 'occurring' here. ;-)
 

RonBee

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Re:
  • "It has become commonplace to observe the sharp polarization of the electorate in the 2004 campaign. But that is playing out even in public reaction to the scandal over the American abuse of some detainees in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison."

The quote indicates that the public was and is still divided and that division of opinion shows in the differing reactions to the news.

:)
 
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Susie Smith

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RonBee said:
Re:
  • "It has become commonplace to observe the sharp polarization of the electorate in the 2004 campaign. But that is playing out even in public reaction to the scandal over the American abuse of some detainees in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison."

The quote indicates that the public was and is still divided and that division of opinion shows in the differing reactions to the news.

:)

You guys are right. It's playing out even.
 
C

CuriousT

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Susie Smith said:
You guys are right. It's playing out even.

Hi,

Does even go with playing out, not with in public reaction...? I thought it was "But that is playing out (=unfolding) even in public reaction to..."?

CuriousT
 

Casiopea

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CuriousT said:
Susie Smith said:
You guys are right. It's playing out even.

Hi,

Does even go with playing out, not with in public reaction...? I thought it was "But that is playing out (=unfolding) even in public reaction to..."?

CuriousT

original post said:
"It has become commonplace to observe the sharp polarization of the electorate in the 2004 campaign. But that is playing out even in public reaction to the scandal over the American abuse of some detainees in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison."

Not only has it become commonplace to observe sharp changes in the public's opinion of the electorate in the 2004 campaign, it has also become commonplace (even) in public reaction to the scandal.... :D
 
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Susie Smith

Guest
Casiopea said:
CuriousT said:
Susie Smith said:
You guys are right. It's playing out even.

Hi,

Does even go with playing out, not with in public reaction...? I thought it was "But that is playing out (=unfolding) even in public reaction to..."?

CuriousT

original post said:
"It has become commonplace to observe the sharp polarization of the electorate in the 2004 campaign. But that is playing out even in public reaction to the scandal over the American abuse of some detainees in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison."


Not only has it become commonplace to observe sharp changes in the public's opinion of the electorate in the 2004 campaign, it has also become commonplace (even) in public reaction to the scandal.... :D

Sorry to have confused you, CuriousT. It wasn't my intention to cut the quote off where I evidently did. It has been noted that the voters are sharply divided with regard to the campaign and wide extremes in public reaction have also been observed related to the scandal ...
 

RonBee

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Good explanation, Susie Smith.

:D
 
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