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Could anyone explain to me its meaning Options
Barely literate
Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013 6:05:28 AM

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There were two underlying messages behind this unilateral steps that Congress veterans say should have been announced after a cabinet was formed.

What more baffles me is the darkened part. I haven't even studied such a tense so far.
leonAzul
Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013 6:14:09 AM

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salesh2010 wrote:
There were two underlying messages behind this unilateral steps that Congress veterans say should have been announced after a cabinet was formed.

What more baffles me is the darkened part. I haven't even studied such a tense so far.

There is a more glaring error: "this unilateral steps" ought to have been written "these unilateral steps".

The meaning is that those who are experienced in how the Congress works expected a clear statement of policy at the time that the cabinet was formed.
thar
Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013 7:49:08 AM

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Even though you only asked about one bit I will deconstruct the whole thing. As la says, it should be plural 'these'.

There were two underlying messages behind these unilateral steps [that Congress veterans say should have been announced after a cabinet was formed].

so firstly, you have a clause:
the things....that Congress veterans say should have been announced after a cabinet was formed].

'that' is the pronoun for 'these unilateral steps'. It is there to be the object in the clause.

so to put it in as the object in normal word order, not as a clause:
Congress veterans say these unitaleral steps should have been announced after a cabinet was formed].

'have been announced' is the passive form of the verb.
so, to make it active, say 'somebody' did it (I will call it 'the government' here, just to give it a name, and 'the steps' is now the object of the active verb:
from
these steps should have been announced
'the government' should have announced these steps

so now you have the verb
he should have announced.
the first part is modal verb 'should'
eghe should announce

But because there is no past tense of the modal verb 'should' - you have to make it past by making the other verb into a present perfect
have announced
put them together and you get
he should have announced.

It means that the action was needed in the past: first form a new cabinet, then announce the steps. Instead it happened the other way round. All this is in the past. So you are saying what should have happened. (Sorry, it is really hard to express that idea without using that tense!)
And then, in the passive, it is
what should have been done:
the steps should have been announced.

in a clause
the steps....that should have been announced.

The rest is just additional infill about who says that.
Congress says that the steps should have been announced
...the steps...that Congress says should have been announced.

put it together, add the first bit, and you get your sentence:

There were two underlying messages behind these unilateral steps that Congress veterans say should have been announced after a cabinet was formed.
Sorry, this is probably mot very helpful, because I don't know how to describe the construction in accurate grammatical terminology!
dusty
Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013 1:28:32 PM

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I wonder if it isn't some sort of homonym word play, a phonetical different, but the same kind of thing such as newspaper headlines that when read irregularly paced reveal alternate meaning.

Like "Elk Shun Hay" which I think is code for predators who masquerade as all powerful beings, really nothing more hacking into blogs and making minor and major changes, because...well I supposed that passes for dominance over others in some circles, but mostly squares.
ChuckGary
Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013 5:20:51 AM

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I would clarify the meaning by writting clearly, that is to say, by arranging ideas in a clear sequence:

"Congress veterans say [that] these unilateral steps, behind which there were two underlying messages, should have been announced after a cabinet was formed."

Clear?

Arfax
Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013 5:28:13 AM
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Hmmm... Sorry to intrude... I'm NOT a native speaker.

Thar said, " 'that' is the pronoun for 'these unilateral steps'." and ChuckGary shares this explanation.
Is it not rather a pronoun for "two underlying messages" ??

Can you advise to announce the steps or the messages ? Think is there a way to be sure ?
It does not change change much to the general sense anyway.
dave freak
Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013 5:31:02 AM
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Asker.

The structure should have done is just a past equivalent to should do. No big deal. You will see it's easy when you've got familiar with it ;).

You should do this or that. (present/future)

You should have done it (past) = you did not do what you were supposed to.

Your "should have been announced" is the passive form.
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