Thousands flock to free medical clinic, as Washington dithers on health care

These events are staged nationwide, but the Wise clinic is among the biggest, drawing people from throughout Appalachia and casting Washington’s sterile political debates into the starkest human terms.

Source (emphasis added)

My question: Does 'casting debate into' have the same meaning as 'casting debate in' ?

Merriam-Webster learner's Dictionary (learnersDictionary.com) explains 'cast' as

7 : to talk about or think of (someone or something) in a particular way
example sentence: Health care issues are often cast in economic terms

  • Always cite your source – click on the link to see why. (I did it for you this time, but next time you'll know what to do.) – J.R. Jul 24 '17 at 17:50
  • will do next time. – Oak M Jul 24 '17 at 18:52

In has two broad senses:

  • a stative or locative sense, designating the place where an entity is located, literally or metaphorically:

    The box is in the cupboard.

  • a dynamic or directive sense, describing the place to which an entity is moved, literally or metaphorically:

    He put the box in the cupboard.

Into has only the dynamic sense:

He put the box okinto the cupboard, but not
The box is into the cupboard.

Consequently in and into are interchangeable when in has a dynamic sense.

As Tᴚoɯɐuo says, we ordinarily use cast X in Y terms in a more or less stative sense: Y is a stative property of the discourse X. But cast is at bottom a dynamic verb—etymologically it means “throw”—and it is entirely proper for this to replace in with into when we speak of changing the terms of a discourse, as this author does: by inference he contrasts the “sterile political” terms in which the debate has been cast with the “starkest human” terms into which it is being cast.

  • I've always thought of cast in this usage as a figurative use of the verb as in to cast a statue. We do not "throw" the debate into human terms; we mould or found it. – P. E. Dant Jul 25 '17 at 1:05
  • @P.E.Dant OED treats the foundry sense of cast as historically derived from cast = put into some order or shape; and that, too, seems always to have licensed obliques with both in and into. – StoneyB on hiatus Jul 25 '17 at 1:32

To cast the debate in {modifier} terms means to state the issues in a particular manner so that they are seen in a particular light or in relation to a particular concern, referred to by the modifier.

They cast the debate in fiscal terms.

To cast into means to throw something into a place or container.

They cast the stolen goods into the dumpster and sped away.

  • thanks. then what does ' casting Washington’s sterile political debates into the starkest human terms.' really mean ? – Oak M Jul 24 '17 at 14:06

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