in the event of unanticipated fire or earthquakes

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philanguy

Senior Member
MotherEarth;Chinese
Hi,

--Is this part well written, in the event of unanticipated fire or earthquakes, in the following text?
Many thanks to you in advance.


--If you are in a large public building, you should make sure of the location of the fire escape in the event of unanticipated fire or earthquakes.
 
  • Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    Oh heavens, NO! No place of business would warn people about "fires" (they might given the impression that fires are commonplace in that location).

    Instead of "Aren't all hotel fires and earthquakes unanticipated?" I could have just as easily written "Isn't every hotel fire and earthquake unanticipated?" (and I probably should have written it that way).
     

    philanguy

    Senior Member
    MotherEarth;Chinese
    Oh heavens, NO! No place of business would warn people about "fires" (they might given the impression that fires are commonplace in that location).

    Instead of "Aren't all hotel fires and earthquakes unanticipated?" I could have just as easily written "Isn't every hotel fire and earthquake unanticipated?" (and I probably should have written it that way).
    Many thanks to you Joelline.
    I didn't mean "fires" in your text but in the base sentence since "fire" is countable. Don't you think it's a grammatical empasse to use "fire" in that case?
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Hi,

    --Is this part well written, in the event of unanticipated fire or earthquakes, in the following text?
    Many thanks to you in advance.


    --If you are in a large public building, you should make sure of the location of the fire escape in the event of unanticipated fire or earthquakes.
    "In the event" does not fit this context; it should be "in case". The point is to prepare before the event even if it probably won't happen. "In the event of fire" means if and when fire does happen.
     

    Guilllaume

    Member
    U.S.A., English
    "in the event of unanticipated fire or earthquakes"

    I agree in keeping earthquake singular, and maybe place 'an' in front of 'unanticipated' so the phrase makes it seem like the event is not likely to happen, which I hope it won't happen.

    The corrected phrase might read
    "in the event of an unanticipated fire or earthquake"
     

    philanguy

    Senior Member
    MotherEarth;Chinese
    "In the event" does not fit this context; it should be "in case". The point is to prepare before the event even if it probably won't happen. "In the event of fire" means if and when fire does happen.
    Many thanks to you Forero.
    I think you suggest "in case of a fire or an earthquake" will be better than the original text. Am I right?
     

    philanguy

    Senior Member
    MotherEarth;Chinese
    I would leave "earthquake" in the singular as well. Making it plural suggests that you might have more than one earthquake occurring at the same time!
    Many thanks to you cycloneviv.

    "in the event of unanticipated fire or earthquakes"

    I agree in keeping earthquake singular, and maybe place 'an' in front of 'unanticipated' so the phrase makes it seem like the event is not likely to happen, which I hope it won't happen.

    The corrected phrase might read
    "in the event of an unanticipated fire or earthquake"
    Many thanks to you Guil.
    Wouldn't you think that "in the case of a fire or earthquake" is a better construction?
     

    cycloneviv

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    For me, the best phrase would be:

    If you are in a large public building, you should make sure of the location of the fire escape in case of fire or earthquake.

    You don't need "a fire or an earthquake", and it doesn't really sound natural to say it that way even though it would be grammatically correct.
     

    philanguy

    Senior Member
    MotherEarth;Chinese
    For me, the best phrase would be:

    If you are in a large public building, you should make sure of the location of the fire escape in case of fire or earthquake.

    You don't need "a fire or an earthquake", and it doesn't really sound natural to say it that way even though it would be grammatically correct.
    Many thanks to you cycloneviv.
    Yeah, your rewording sounds nice and smooth though it's grammatically effy. Could you explain why fire and earthquake work better in the text?
     

    cycloneviv

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    While I don't think my version is at all grammatically "iffy" :D, I can't really think how to explain why it is better.

    Here are some examples of "in case of fire" and "in case of earthquake" and other types of emergency from the internet:

    It is important that all staff and visitors in your buildings will know what to do in case of fire or emergency.

    Do you know what to do in case of fire?

    Also, you might want to purchase a pet first aid book as a reference guide in case of earthquake or other emergency.

    Your family should devise an emergency plan in case of flood.

    "I would like to see it spread," he said in an interview from Washington, noting that most American farmers already have insurance in case of drought.
     

    philanguy

    Senior Member
    MotherEarth;Chinese
    Many thanks to you cycloneviv.
    Your examples clearly show that fire and earthquake are more idiomatic.
    But the reason is that they are more of gerneral terms; someone broke this to me a while ago. Do you agree?
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    It would strike me as odd for someone to say "Earthquake kills", in the singular with no article, but we do say "Cancer kills" and "Love waits."

    However, consider:
    • We say "the bean bag chair" = "the chair like a bag of beans". In other words, "beans", used as an adjective, becomes "bean"; "(like) a bean bag", as an adjective, becomes "bean bag".
    • We say "emergency purposes" (purposes associated with any emergency, or with emergencies in general). We say "fire insurance", "earthquake insurance", "flood insurance".
    • We say "protection against fire, earthquake, and flood" (protection from any fire, from any earthquake, and from any flood that might occur).
    • In case of fire, earthquake, or flood.
      (To prepare for the case or cases, should such a case or cases arise, of a fire, an earthquake, or a flood)
    In other words, "earthquake" is never a noncount noun denoting "earthquake in general" - that sounds funny, doesn't it? - but for hypothetical general events, at least with "in case of" and "in the event of", we normally dispense with articles and plural endings on "case", "event", "fire", "earthquake", etc.

    I think of this usage (nouns without the usual noun accoutrements) as nouns used as abstractions, in our case making the events less in-your-face, less "real" (unrealized, hopefully).
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Aren't all hotel fires and earthquakes unanticipated?
    I don't think so: a San Francisco earthquake has been anticipated for years; and clearly the author of the text is anticipating a fire or earthquake, as it is giving advice on what to do if and when the fire or earthquake takes place.

    Philanguy, does your text mean that one should take different action in the event of an anticipated fire or earthquake?
     
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