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Second opinion needed on grammar
Thread poster: Mirella Biagi

Mirella Biagi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:43
Member (2013)
French to English
+ ...
Nov 20, 2013

Hi,

I recently did a translation for an agency that they then sent back with some corrections. However, I am not convinced that either of the versions is actually 'wrong'. Here are the two versions.

The Agent declares to have understood...
The Agent declares that he has understood...

I am delibrately not saying which I wrote and which the editor wrote so as to not influence any answers.

What do you think?

Thanks!


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xxxbsangha

Local time: 12:43
German to English
+ ...
An opinion Nov 20, 2013

The second one is better English.

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Spencer Allman
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:43
Finnish to English
The second one Nov 20, 2013

I would say the first one is wrong

but the structure is ok in the passive

so x is declared to have been.....


S


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Victoria Britten  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:43
Member (2012)
French to English
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Agree with Bina Nov 20, 2013

The first is not actually wrong, but the second is (a lot) more usual

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Mirella Biagi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:43
Member (2013)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
But how do we know that the Agent is male? Nov 20, 2013

Yes I agree that the second sounds more natural and in every day language it is the one I would use. However, is it correct though to use 'he' if there is no evidence that the 'Agent' is not a woman? Surely you could get into a lot of legal problems making an assumption of the sort?

[Edited at 2013-11-20 13:01 GMT]


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Paulinho Fonseca  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:43
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
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Grammar Nov 20, 2013

They are both correct, but I would use the second on a more formal context.

Paulinho


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Paulinho Fonseca  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:43
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
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He or she Nov 20, 2013

How about the context?
Don't you have any evidence there?
If not, not possible...


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Paulinho Fonseca  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:43
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
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He or she Nov 20, 2013

Well, if there's no evidence of that (male/female) in context, one couldn't imply that.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:43
Member (2007)
English
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3rd option? Nov 20, 2013

The first is technically incorrect though, as you'll see from Googling it, it is very common. The second is correct but, as you say, it raises that old gender chestnut.

My preference in this particular context would be for a third option: The agent declares having understood. I believe that's grammatically correct - it is to me, anyway.


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Mirella Biagi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:43
Member (2013)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
he or she Nov 20, 2013

No there is no evidence in the context as it is standard legal document that does not specify one way or the other. Hence why I was wondering if perhaps the use of 'he' could create legal problems.

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Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 13:43
Member (2008)
English to Russian
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No difference Nov 20, 2013

Both are correct. The first one is less frequent in formal texts.

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Mirella Biagi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:43
Member (2013)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
to have vs having Nov 20, 2013

Sheila Wilson wrote:

The first is technically incorrect though, as you'll see from Googling it, it is very common. The second is correct but, as you say, it raises that old gender chestnut.

My preference in this particular context would be for a third option: The agent declares having understood. I believe that's grammatically correct - it is to me, anyway.


Is it still incorrect if we consider the fact that the sentence continues?

The agent declares to have understood that...
The agent declared having understood that...


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:43
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
"that" after "understood" is optional Nov 20, 2013

I believe the problem with your first option is that there's no object. In another context, you could perhaps say "the agent declares his client to have understood (that)", although it's not at all elegant. The "that" is optional, as it is in the second example of your first post (although the "that" in "declares that he" is required).

I have to say that, although I believe your first example to be incorrect, it's so common that I personally probably wouldn't change it as a proofreader. However, if I used it myself in a translation (and I can see that possibility), then I'd accept the proofreader's reprimand with good grace.


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Derrio  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
He/his Nov 20, 2013

Mirella Biagi wrote:

No there is no evidence in the context as it is standard legal document that does not specify one way or the other. Hence why I was wondering if perhaps the use of 'he' could create legal problems.



Mirella,
I know that in UK Law the Interpretations Act 1978 applies to Acts of Parliament and other legal documents. The Act states "words importing the masculine gender include the feminine". Many contracts will include a clause (the interpretation clause) to this effect. What I am not sure of is if this has to be expressly stated in a contract for it to apply. Maybe some lawyers out there could clarify this, but it appears that it would assist with the thorny issue regarding the use of he/his etc.


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finnword1
United States
Local time: 06:43
English to Finnish
+ ...
the shorter the better Nov 20, 2013

"declares to have understood" has over 64 000 hits on Google. The longer phrase sounds more awkward.

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