Yesterday night there were cold wind, mist, and black ice on the road, so my school district had its school start delayed for 2 hours this morning.

So if I were to write a school news article about this, which should be my choice? (This'll go in the body paragraph, not the headline)

  1. Our school district has issued a two-hour delay on school start time
  2. Our school district has issued two-hour delay on school start time
  3. Our school district has had its school start time delayed for two hours
  4. (Any better expression?)

...this morning.

If you'd also like to answer, should I use the definitive article "the" in front of those "school start time" above? I feel like I should not, because "time" is abstract. If I were to use "the," I should have used "...hours," am I wrong?

  • Because "a two-hour delay" isn't something that would normally be "implemented" as a "policy", you've got a real problem trying to come up with an appropriate verb to connect it as a grammatical object to the subject our school district. Note that your #1 & #2 imply a deliberate choice of policy action, whereas #3 implies some higher level of administrative authority imposed the delay on them. Better would be 4: Our school district delayed its school start time by two hours. Jan 10 '17 at 15:59
  • "[Y]ou've got a real problem trying to come up with an appropriate verb to connect it as a grammatical object to the subject our school district"- does this mean that I have possibly confused by the meaning of the words which lead to me not choosing the right words? I'm confused by your use of "you've". Thanks for pointing out subtle details though! :)
    – Kim YuJin
    Jan 10 '17 at 16:46
  • 1
    I'm not suggesting you're confused by the meaning of the words (you might be, but I don't know that). What I'm saying is They X'ed a 2-hour delay to school start time is always going to be problematic, because we don't really have a "standard" verb to use for X there. Things like your issued, John's announced, and others such as declared, implemented, proclaimed, authorised come close, but I think they're all just trying to make the best of a bad situation. Which simply doesn't arise if you switch to saying they delayed the start time. Jan 10 '17 at 17:12
  • (You've got a real problem = You have a real problem.) Jan 10 '17 at 17:14

"issued a 2-hour delay" refers both to the fact that there is a delay, as well as to the fact that they told people about the delay. It's pretty much a stock phrase at this point.

Our school district has issued a 2-hour delay.

Our school district has announced a 2-hour delay.

Starting time is assumed.

If it's something else that's being delayed or cancelled (such as an after-school event), then you'd call that out explicitly.

Our school district has issued a 2-hour delay; the basketball game with XYZ has been cancelled, but the orchestra concert will go on as scheduled.

  • Why doesn't "delay" take the indefinite article here? Is it because, I am assuming, a delay is basically a happening?
    – Kim YuJin
    Jan 10 '17 at 15:25
  • It does take the indefinite article.
    – John Feltz
    Jan 10 '17 at 15:32

"Our school district issued a two-hour delay, for when classes would start,..."

1) "...on [give date]."

2) "...today/yesterday [give date]"

3) "...on [give date] because of inclement weather."

[Edit: using the actual date will avoid confusion should anyone read the article in the future...it also documents the event, for future reference, better.]

  • Does this answer mean that all of the three work, provided a date is given?
    – Kim YuJin
    Jan 10 '17 at 15:23
  • Yes. I wasn't sure how much copy space or how "conversational" you wanted to word the article/announcement. Jan 10 '17 at 15:31
  • In fact, one could leave out the prep. phrase, "for when classes would start", as it is not wholly necessary unless one wants to clarify " a two-hour delay [in what]?" Given it could be a 2-hr delay in classes, a performance at the school, a sporting event, etc. Jan 10 '17 at 15:34

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