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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

I'll be watching this

A lot of people will probably be making fun of this. I am the government! I can even control the language:

Oct. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Brazil's Federal District Governor Jose Roberto Arruda ``fired'' the present participle from his administration, citing inefficiency.

``The present participle is hereby fired from all federal district entities,'' the governor wrote in a decree posted on the government's Web site last night. ``As of today, it is forbidden as an excuse for INEFFICIENCY.''

Banning the verb form, which ends in ``ndo'' in Portuguese (``ing'' in English), was done to prevent government officials from using continuous tenses to obscure progress -- or the lack of it.

``I find it somewhat ludicrous,'' Dario Borim, chairman of the Department of Portuguese at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. ``It's a matter for linguists to discuss not for politicians.''

Decree No. 28.314 was issued to end vague promises by government officials, such as: ``We'll be taking steps,'' Globo news agency reported, citing aides to Arruda it didn't identify by name.

But I applaud him. The present participle -- the "continuous tense" -- CAN be used to create a sense of action being taken when there really is none, which makes it perfect for government bureaucrats. "We will be addressing the problem." "We are looking into it." "We have been listening."


Dario Borim
Sat, 10/06/2007 - 6:37pm

Dear Mr. Morris and other debaters,
There are numberless ways of speaking unclearly and deceitfully in Portuguese, English, or any other language. It is ludicrous to think that by preventing the use of one of those ways (the law or any other means of coercion, for instance) lawmakers will achieve their goals: to stop lies or half-truths. It is as if the law, for example, outlawed the verb "hate." People shall not use the word "hate" or they will go to jail. Well, if they say "I hate to tell this, but I need you more than you think," there is no hatred at all. There is love and dependency on the loved one. There is potentially some romantic honesty or dishonesty as well -- who knows? To conclude, the "ger