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the presumed pilot Options
mcurrent
Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2018 8:37:01 AM

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Hi. The text from news is:

A man whose pilot certificate was revoked 21 years ago for lying on his medical application was the presumed pilot of a Cessna 335 high performance twin that crashed near Palm Beach County Park Airport a week ago, killing him and his wife.

I have two question.
1. What does "presumed" mean here? Is it meaning "no doubt it was pilot"?
2. What thought is expressed here by "the" before "presumed pilot"? I watched in TFD but couldn't choose proper meaning.

Thanks.
thar
Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2018 9:07:04 AM

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No, the opposite. You cannot confirm he is the pilot.

There is an individual who had his licence revoked.

This man is presumed (by investigators) to be the pilot of this plane.

But this is only an assumption. It is not a confirmation. The person flying the plane could have been somebody else. It could be a case of mistaken identity. You can't state something as a fact unless you have strong evidence to confirm it.

'Presumed' is used as an adjective.
The article belongs with the noun.
He was the pilot.

You then add an adjective.

He was the presumed pilot.
We presume he was the pilot, but we cannot state that as a fact.


Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2018 9:07:19 AM

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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hi mcurrent.

Not really - it means "We think he was the pilot only because there is no evidence that it was someone else."

Presume = assume = decide to believe something with no definitive evidence. It means "take for granted".

There is no proof that this man was the pilot of the Cessna - the newspaper reporter is just guessing (maybe the police also guess the same thing, but it's still just a guess).

"The" is the definite article. "The" and "of a Cessna 335 high performance twin" work together to specify which presumed pilot.

the - article
2. used with a qualifying word or phrase to indicate a particular person, object, etc, as distinct from others: ask the man standing outside; give me the blue one
Collins English Dictionary

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
mcurrent
Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2018 10:34:35 AM

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Thanks thar and DragOnspeaker.
I have one more question - does the meaning change if that sentence include adverb "presumably" instead of adjective as "A man whose pilot certificate was revoked 21 years ago for lying on his medical application was presumably the pilot of a Cessna 335 high performance twin that crashed near Palm Beach County Park Airport a week ago, killing him and his wife."?
thar
Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2018 10:52:11 AM

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It is not quite the same.

Although 'presumably' is obviously linked to the action of someone presuming it, it has taken on a more general meaning - probably, we can go with that, no problems.

Whereas if you say 'he is the presumed pilot', or 'the man whom we presume was flying the plane', that is taking responsibility for the assumption. It indicates we have a certain level of evidence to believe that, and we are making that assumption but still not able to confirm it.

If you look at synonyms for presume (and that applies to the passive and adjective in the same way) it is all about someone's thought process:
assume, suppose, dare say, imagine, take it, expect, believe, think, surmise, guess, judge, trust, conjecture, speculate, postulate, posit, hypothesize, deduce, divine, infer, conclude,


but if you look at synonyms for 'presumably' it is about the level of probability
in all probability, probably, in all likelihood, all things being equal, all things considered, as likely/like as not, doubtless, undoubtedly, no doubt, without doubt;

These are not giving the same message.

It is not just laziness in use of language. Presumably is what you can presume/ are safely able to presume. ie it is pretty certain to be true.

But if you say you presume something, you are emphasising that you don't actually know for sure.


Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2018 10:55:02 AM

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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
It is a little different.
You probably could not work it out by looking at the definitions of the words, but . . .

"Was the presumed pilot" says that someone has presumed that he was the pilot.
If the news article is reporting what they were told by the investigators/police (which is fairly normal) we can guess that it is these investigators who presume that he's the pilot (it's not the reporter's mother's cousin who guessed who the pilot was).
It is deliberately vague but does say that someone (with some authority) suspects he was the pilot.

"Was presumably the pilot" says "I, the reporter, think it is pretty obvious that he was the pilot - and I think everyone else should presume the same thing."
It seems more like a personal opinion than an informed and official suspicion.

As thar noted "You can't state something as a fact unless you have strong evidence to confirm it."
This is a legal point - If the reporter said that this guy WAS the pilot - then it turned out that this was not true - the newspaper would be liable to being sued for defamation of character, libel, calumny . . .

If they say he was the presumed pilot they are telling a true fact. Someone, somewhere presumes he is the pilot.
However, they are not making the mistake of implying that the reporter is accusing him.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Romany
Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2018 12:16:38 PM
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Drago is right. Journalist's have "it's presumed" as well as "probable", "suspected" and "thought to be" drummed into them until their use becomes automatic. If you don't use these words it can, in many cases, cost the newspaper thousands of pounds. It can even cause a newspaper - and the journalist - to go out of business.

If the writer does not know the provable facts at the time of writing, they can & will get sued. So will their newspaper or other media source if the wrong information is published.

It's not only losing money which makes them protect themselves with "presumably" and it's ilk. It's also loss of reputation; both in the public eye and amongst other publications.

So mccurrent, you should learn to recognise that, when any news source uses these words, you know immediately that they have no clue at all what happened.Dancing

In the tabloid world "a friend said...", "it has been reported that ..." "We've been told..." often are there to protect them: what they really mean is "We're making all this up. Because it's a really boring day in the office.". (And the word "often" in the sentence above 'protects' me It means I'm not saying that every single time you see those words written it means without doubt that what follows is untrue.



Sarrriesfan
Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2018 1:08:58 PM

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Romany it not presumably but presumed that makes the journalist free from being sued here.

Presumed the burden of proof on those doing the investigation, the journalist is reporting that the investigating authorities think the man was the pilot. The journalist is making no judgement of their own just reporting the facts.

Presumably the journalist is making their own judgement which can lead them to be sued if it's not true, they are leaving some room for doubt but it's not as clear cut as in the first case.

I lack the imagination for a witty signature.
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