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He says or He said?

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TS
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He says or He said?

Unread post by TS » Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:55 pm

In the same news, why sometimes they use he says, and sometimes he said?

Your opinion is invited.

Weibing
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Unread post by Weibing » Fri Jul 13, 2007 10:30 pm

Both possible.

Strictly according to English lauguage grammar, 'simple past' should be used.

'Simple present', however, is often used instead of 'simple past' in the news reports - probably in order to make the news sound or seem like somthing is happening at the moment, not just a past thing, and thus impress the listeners or readers. It's actually one of the characteristics of 'news writing' - tending to use 'simple present' instead of 'simple past', especially in the news headlines.

TS, I assume you already knew it - all you want may be some more explainations and confirmation from others, especially from the native speakers!

TS
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Unread post by TS » Sat Jul 14, 2007 6:49 am

I mean Says and Said exist at the same news, rather in the news headlines, so it is hard for me to explain.

If it is as you say "It's actually one of the characteristics of 'news writing' - tending to use 'simple present'", then in the whole news there should be all either He Said or He Says. However, as in the following news reports I see today, there are both Say and Said. And they are not in the headline:
Fate of sacred bull before Welsh court
Thu Jul 12, 3:47 PM ET

Those caring for him at a Hindu monastery in Wales say he symbolizes the sanctity of all life and is an inspiration to temple-goers. Officials say he could have a contagious disease and should be put down.

The Welsh rural development minister, Jane Davidson, said she was "acutely aware" of the distress her decision has caused the Hindu community, but said she had no choice but to order the bull be destroyed in the interests of public health.

The monastery said in a Web statement that its members would be "willing to defend his life with our own."

Mistry said the statement was meant to express Hindu belief, adding that any protests would be nonviolent.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070712/ap_ ... acred_bull
== Not the whole news is put here. Only those sentences with Say or Said are captured here. I hope the news link can work for a day or two.

Then the question is: Why a reporter may use both Say or Said in the same news?

TS
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Unread post by TS » Sat Jul 14, 2007 5:38 pm

The news link is still working and I notice further there is another use of Say that has escaped my observation before. Here I put it below:
The 6-year-old Friesian bull tested positive for bovine tuberculosis in April. Under British law, animals suspected of carrying the disease must be slaughtered. But Shambo's caretakers at Skanda Vale Hindu monastery near Carmarthen, in southwest Wales — backed by worldwide supporters — say Shambo is not sick and have been fighting to save him.
== If Simple Present Say is used to 'impress people', does this function apply also to other Simple Present structures in the same news?

Weibing
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Unread post by Weibing » Sun Jul 15, 2007 12:16 am

'Say' in the article was used to cite opinions in general, while 'said' in particular (a certain person's action or argument about whether or not the bull should be killed).

TS, I'm not sure I have answered your question correctly. I've just tried to help. Be a little patient - somebody else might also be intrested and couldn't help but 'put pen to paper', then you'd get a satisfying answer. You never know!

TS
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Unread post by TS » Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:10 pm

At first, Weibing said Simple Present is used to impress people:
Weibing wrote:'Simple present', however, is often used instead of 'simple past' in the news reports - probably in order to make the news sound or seem like somthing is happening at the moment, not just a past thing, and thus impress the listeners or readers.
Then there is now a new idea:
Weibing wrote:'Say' in the article was used to cite opinions in general, while 'said' in particular (a certain person's action or argument about whether or not the bull should be killed).
I can't see how the two explanations match. Are you reasoning we use a general opinion (in Simple Present) to impress people? And use opinion in particular (in Simple Past) not to impress people? It can hardly make sense.

Also, I am quite aware that in the same news, the following Said is more general than Say:
Ex: The monastery said in a Web statement that its members would be "willing to defend his life with our own." Mistry said the statement was meant to express Hindu belief, adding that any protests would be nonviolent.
Ex: Those caring for him at a Hindu monastery in Wales say he symbolizes the sanctity of all life and is an inspiration to temple-goers. Officials say he could have a contagious disease and should be put down.
== The statement on the Web is of course more general than that from the officials. Moreover, the web statement "was meant to express Hindu belief". Such a statement of belief must be general enough. Lastly, I believe the statement is still on the Web and it matches with your explanation "is happening at the moment, not just a past thing, and thus impress the listeners or readers." According to both of your standards mentioned above, the Web statement should have used Say, rather than Said. That is, your suggestions fail to explain why people use Say or Said.

By the way, I choose Say and Said for illustration because the two items are often appearing in the same news. The most important thing is, does the difference between Say and Said apply to the general difference between Simple Present and Simple Past in other verbs in the same news?

Weibing
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Unread post by Weibing » Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:17 pm

TS, 'Those' and 'Officials' in your citation are more general than 'The monastery' and 'Mistry', aren't they? 'Simple present' is often used in the headlines to impress readers, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it's also true when it's used in the context.

TS
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Unread post by TS » Mon Jul 16, 2007 7:26 pm

Weibing wrote: TS, 'Those' and 'Officials' in your citation are more general than 'The monastery' and 'Mistry', aren't they? 'Simple present' is often used in the headlines to impress readers, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it's also true when it's used in the context.
I am afraid I have given my reasons in explaining the statement from the monastery is more general than that from the officials. What's yours?

Besides, the statement on the Web is still, according to you, "happening at the moment, not just a past thing, and thus impress the listeners or readers." Obviously, it should have been a present Say, rather than a past Said:
Ex: The monastery said in a Web statement that its members would be "willing to defend his life with our own." Mistry said the statement was meant to express Hindu belief, adding that any protests would be nonviolent.
In fact, I have visited the Web for the statements. They are still there. So, why will the reporter use Said to refer to the web statements?

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