longest living OR longest lived

audiolaik

Senior Member
Polish
Hi,

When watching some documentary on the history of the Queen (BBC), I heard the narrator say "She is the longest lived British monarch"*. Do you detect any differences between the BBC version and the following:


The Queen has reached a new milestone as she becomes the longest living British monarch.
?


source:http://www.standard.co.uk/newsheadlines/queen-is-longest-living-uk-monarch-6662506.html


*I wasn't recording the programme, so I can't check whether that was the expression they actually used.


Thank you.

A&AJnr
 
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  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I don't feel any particular difference. The two verb forms certainly don't imply any tense difference, for one. 'Longest-lived' is perhaps more common, particularly as 'longest-living' is within a very small intonational distance of an absurd meaning (George is the longest living crocodile; we had a longer one but it died last year).
     

    Miss Julie

    Senior Member
    English-U.S.
    And when you refer to the Queen without using her name (Elizabeth II), you need to say "the Queen." Otherwise, some may think you are referring to the rock group Queen, which I did when I read "history of Queen."
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Either way, I think there should be a hyphen here, as entangledbank has it. "The longest living British monarch," without a hyphen, is longer than any other living British monarch. Since there can be only one British monarch at a time, and since we measure people by height rather than length (once they are old enough to stand), that doesn't make sense.
     

    audiolaik

    Senior Member
    Polish
    And when you refer to the Queen without using her name (Elizabeth II), you need to say "the Queen." Otherwise, some may think you are referring to the rock group Queen, which I did when I read "history of Queen."
    Of course! Thank you for your correction!
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Both sound a little awkward and that is because the writers are trying not to say "She is the oldest British monarch ever." because saying someone is "old" can be interpreted as pejorative.
     

    audiolaik

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Either way, I think there should be a hyphen here, as entangledbank has it. "The longest living British monarch," without a hyphen, is longer than any other living British monarch. Since there can be only one British monarch at a time, and since we measure people by height rather than length (once they are old enough to stand), that doesn't make sense.
    True, but even the author of the article seems to be a bit inconsistent: "the longest living" versus "the longest-reigning".
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    My first reaction was that the writer feared that "longest lived" might imply that the living is over and the word was changed to living to acknowledge that she is still, well, living. That tense change also requires the hyphen for reasons noted above.

    How about
    She has reached/achieved/recorded the greatest lifespan of any British monarch . ???
    She has lived longer than any (other? :eek:) British monarch
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Or 'longest-reigning' (the only possibility for most verbs) could have influenced the choice, pushed it towards the somewhat less natural 'longest-living'. In fact I'm hard pushed to explain the grammar of '-lived'; I have a vague idea it arose from the noun 'life', not the verb.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    This is logically odd. She's the only living British monarch, for goodness sake!

    So I think it really has to be longest-lived, meaning the one who has lived longest, though no doubt some people will use the present-participle version.

    (She won't be the longest-reigning for another 3 years.)
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    This is logically odd. She's the only living British monarch, for goodness sake!

    So I think it really has to be longest-lived, meaning the one who has lived longest, though no doubt some people will use the present-participle version.
    The writer (and perhaps others) might see the construction "longest-lived" as short for the "one who lived longest" rather than your vision "one who has (so far) lived longest". Hence the discussion. The use of "she is the longest-lived ..." should make it clear but it seems it doesn't.
     
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