The Analects of Confucius <recorded> what Confucius said

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fh3579

Senior Member
Chinese
The Analects of Confucius recorded what Confucius said, who lived 2000 years ago.
Do you think it should be "records" or "recorded".
I will give the reason for both.
"Records" indicates a permanent truth while "recorded" indicated that Confucius lived 2000 years ago -- in the past.
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think it depends on your point of view. If you are thinking of the Analects as being a work that is available to be read now, you may prefer to use "records". If you are thinking of the actual act of writing, which took place 2000 years ago, you will probably want to use "recorded".

    Compare with these:
    Shakespeare's Hamlet was written in the early 17th century, at a time when.....
    Shakespeare's Hamlet is written in blank verse and prose, and shows us....

    The OP includes the reference to "Confucius, who lived 20000 years ago"; perhaps "recorded" is more appropriate here since you're emphasising an event that took place a long time ago. It may depend on the sentences that come before and after this one.
     
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    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    But The Analects of Confucius is a book. That's why I used the single form.
    In that case you should indicate that it is a title, using italics (The Analects of Confucius) or quotation marks/inverted commas ("The Analects of Confucius")*, so that people do not think you mean "the Analects which were written by Confucius."


    * As this is the title of a book, italics would be correct in American usage.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The analects of Confucius record what Confucius said.

    "The Analects of Confucius"
    records what Confucius said.

    The analects of Confucius recorded what Confucius said. (This means that they were destroyed. They no longer exist and they no longer record anything.)
     
    I must register an alternative to Biffo, below. Also to the OP, who said,

    But The Analects of Confucius is a book. That's why I used the single form.
    While it's common to incorporate the author and the title, it's not obligatory. The old Legge translation does so --Biffo's second proposal.

    However, the logical and common, present-day way is thus:

    The Analects: Confucius: 9781613822463: Amazon.com ...
    [...]
    ... shipping on qualifying offers. A record of the words and teachings of Confucius, The Analects is considered the most reliable expression of Confucian thought.


    The analects of Confucius record what Confucius said.

    "The Analects of Confucius"
    records what Confucius said.

    The analects of Confucius recorded what Confucius said. (This means that they were destroyed. They no longer exist and they no longer record anything.)
     
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