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are/were, must encounter/encounter Options
Koh Elaine
Posted: Saturday, July 15, 2017 10:26:36 AM
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Between the time we are born and the time we must encounter death, ultimately we all will experience the suffering of illness.

Shouldn't it be "were" and "encounter"?
("must" is unnecessary, in my opinion)


Thanks.
NKM
Posted: Saturday, July 15, 2017 11:13:01 AM

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We all are born, and we all must expect to "encounter death".

That's a generic concept, and the time of each event is not specific (or known), so "are" is really the right word.

If we were speaking of one person, we might say "Between the time you were born and the time you encounter death …."

I agree that "must" is unnecessary. I think, too, that "encounter death" seems unnecessarily formal and indirect.

- "Between the time we are born and the time we die …."

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Saturday, July 15, 2017 10:25:34 PM

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Between the time we are born and the time we must encounter death, ultimately we all will experience the suffering of illness.

Or

Between birth and death, we all suffer illness.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
palapaguy
Posted: Saturday, July 15, 2017 10:53:33 PM

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The above are pedantic analyses of form, only. As I understand it, in these analyses points are awarded for minimizing word count.

But doesn't anyone see value in the style or literary quality of "Between the time we are born and the time we must encounter death..."? I think this is an essential part of English Grammar, the name of this forum.
Romany
Posted: Sunday, July 16, 2017 5:34:47 AM
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Indeed - there is a vast difference between literary (written) English and spoken English. The latter can be, in millions of cases, uncouth. However, the former is one of our cultural glories.

Like you, I prefer the original version of the sentence -"... the time we must encounter death" is unusual, 'soft', and it is the function of the word 'must' in this which underlines for us the inevitability of death.

So I would qualify my opinion: the form is, as the others have said, certainly NOT the sort of thing we would SAY. Written, however, in a text, I think it's lovely and wouldn't touch it.
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