Wikileaks rebel Julian Assange remained holed up

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Murom

Member
Russian
Wikileaks rebel Julian Assange remained holed up in a stuffy room at the Ecuadorian embassy today surrounded by dozens of police officers waiting to pounce. © Daily Mail

Is this sentence written correctly, I mean "remained"? "Has remained" seems to me should have been used there because he was still remaining at the embassy at that moment (when the article was written).
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, but when the article was printed, distributed and read, the event would be in the past. Things may have changed by the time the reader reads the article - the police may have pounced, Assange may have escaped, or whatever, so the information in the article is given in the past tense.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Yes, but when the article was printed, distributed and read, the event would be in the past. Things may have changed by the time the reader reads the article - the police may have pounced, Assange may have escaped, or whatever, so the information in the article is given in the past tense.
    This is common newspaper practice, murom.

    Good newspaper journalism includes writing in a way that the statement will be true at any time, regardless of whether you read it right off the press or whether you retrieve it from the bottom of your bird cage six months later.
     

    Murom

    Member
    Russian
    Thank you sdgraham.
    ...remained holed up in a stuffy room at the Ecuadorian embassy today...
    The presence of the word "today" put me off my stroke. I've just always thought that if you talk about something that has happened today, and today is not over, you should use the present perfect, not the past simple. But it turned out not to be like that.

    Is this practice characteristic of the press or I can write this way in my letters to my friends, too?
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hello Murom,

    You shouldn't think that because the time period concerned hasn't finished you must use the present perfect for things which happened in the past within that time period.

    It's true that only if it hasn't finished may you, in normal circumstances, use it.

    But there may be cases where the simple past is called for. You might want to present the sentence in an eventive way.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think the time period concerned has finished: it is the time when the writer (or someone who provided information to the writer) was at the embassy and observed that Mr Assange had not yet left. As for today, consider this example: I went to town to do some shopping today but I am back home now.
     

    Murom

    Member
    Russian
    It seems I'm understanding...
    Well, if I say "My friends have departed and I have remained alone this year" it will mean that now, at the moment of speaking, I'm alone. But If I say "My friends have departed and I remained alone this year" it will do that I'm not alone now, they might arrived or anything else, doesn't it? Of course, this year is not over yet.
     
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    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    If I move to a desert island with friends in 2001, and my friends go elsewhere in 2002, I can say at the end of 2003 "My friends have departed and I have remained alone this year". You can say "My friends departed this year and I was left alone". I am not sure about "My friends have departed and I remained alone this year", because I think that, at least with "alone", "remained" usually means "continued to be", rather than "became". :confused:
     
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