scenario

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shuiyue

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi everyone, according to Dictionary.com, this is one of the definitions of "scenario":

3. an imagined or projected sequence of events, especially any of several detailed plans or possibilities: One scenario calls for doubling profits by increasing our advertising, the other by reducing costs.
What I'm not sure about is whether "scenario", and the definition above in particular, can be used to refer to a past event/possibility, because from the way in which the definition is phrased and my experiences with the word it seems that "scenario" is typically used to refer to a future event/possibility.
 
  • Fabulist

    Banned
    American English
    There are other definitions or meanings for "scenario," but note that this one covers an imagined sequence of events. Since scenarios are often hypothetical, the hypothesis can be for an alternative series of past events. For instance, there could be a "scenario" of a sequence of events that might have happened if Japan had not tried to conquer China in the 1930's. A different "scenario" of what might have happened could be based on the hypothesis that Japan did not attack Pearl Harbor in 1941 and did not go to war with the U.S. The "series of events" in the "scenario" might include even greater efforts by Japan to conquer China and end with China as part of a Japanese Empire that lasted into the 21st century.

    We don't know what would have happened after a single departure from history, but we don't know whether future scenarios will come true, either, until some time has passed and they have become history. At this time, for instance, there can be several "scenarios" about what is going to happen to al-Quaeda now that Osama bin Laden is dead. Perhaps one of them will turn out to have been correct ten years from now, perhaps none of them will.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Hi everyone, according to Dictionary.com, this is one of the definitions of "scenario":

    What I'm not sure about is whether "scenario", and the definition above in particular, can be used to refer to a past event/possibility, because from the way in which the definition is phrased and my experiences with the word it seems that "scenario" is typically used to refer to a future event/possibility.
    You need to give us an example of what you mean. How do you want to use it?
     

    shuiyue

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    For example:

    Some people find it very hard to believe that American Special Forces were able to move deep inside Pakistan’s territory and kill bin Laden undetected. A more likely scenario for what happened is that Pakistani officials were informed of the impending secret operation and gave the US the green light to go ahead.
     
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