Of verbs and business reporting
Robert MacMillan, an editor and blogger at Reuters, writes Tuesday about the correct verb tense when writing about events that happened in the past.
MacMillan writes, “What I loathe is the use of this tense to describe events that neither need to be cast more into antiquity than another part of the story, nor need to be characterized as having occurred during the great migrations from Gondwanaland.
”The company had agreed to let the other company examine its finances before they had struck a deal.’
“Why not, ‘The company let the other company examine its finances before they struck a deal.’ Some journalists say that they must distinguish all past events from more recent events. No they must not. And if they must, they can find an easier way. I should point out that public relations writing, as awful as it can be, rarely casts events into a deeper dimension of the past than they need to be. I strip it out of all the stories I edit. Yet, it keeps reappearing like vermin. I will continue to stamp it out.”
Read more here.