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Old 08-20-2009, 02:10 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 10,360
Default Past or future?

There is a phrase used with some regularly in Jeremy Wilson's biography of T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia, The Authorized Biography of T. E. Lawrence ISBN: 0020826621) and I'm not sure if this is one of those divided by a common language issues...'-})

The phrase is: in the event

As in:

"Revolt became a best-seller in both Britain and America. Lawrence had predicted that the combined royalties from Cape and Doran [publishers] would pay off his debt within two or three years; in the event the overdraft was covered within weeks..." [italics mine, Lawrence of Arabia, The Authorized Biography of T. E. Lawrence, Collier Books, page 357]

In the US, the phrase in the event references a future occurrence (for example: in the event of rain, the party will be held indoors); however, in the context of the above quote, it means that the event had actually occurred--Lawrence's bank overdraft was covered within weeks not years.

Lastly, however in the event is understood, shouldn't there be a comma after "event" ("in the event, the overdraft was covered...")?

What say you?

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