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In attendance

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:17 pm

Several times in the last two or three days I have encountered from otherwise capable writers "in attendance." It's an ill phrase, a vile phrase, in attendance is a vile phrase. Strong writing calls for verbs: he attended the meeting, NOT he was in attendance.
pl
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Re: In attendance

Postby Slava » Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:46 pm

I beg to differ. "In attendance" often means much more than simply "attending" a meeting.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
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Re: In attendance

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:18 am

Yeah, Perry. I have been in attendance many times when I was not actually attending. Unless you have sat through hours of arcane technical discussions in a smoke filled conference rooms (smoke filled in my day), you cannot really appreciate the truth of having been in attendance.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: In attendance

Postby bnjtokyo » Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:12 am

G.B.S. Stage direction in "A Man of Destiny":
"Nothing more is said until the lieutenant arrives followed by Giuseppe, who stands modestly in attendance at the table."

In my opinion, a good way for the director to tell the actor how he should behave in the scene.

Or J. Austin (a fine romantic stylist) Northhanger Abbey:
"Henry was not able to obey his father's injunction of
remaining wholly at Northanger in attendance on the ladies"
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Re: In attendance

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:20 pm

And yet all those who advise us writers and speakers say to write in the active voice, with nouns and verbs. I can buy "in attendance" in Philip's sense, deliberately meaning one is mostly ignoring what's happening. I eventually quit going to conferences where I could not attend. Likewise to be in attendace to the ladies is a bit antiquated, but still makes an acceptable point. My objection is to news articles in which the person or persons mentioned are involved and active, as for example at a school board meeting.
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Re: In attendance

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:39 am

Actually, Perry, I agree.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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