4

it will be recalled that this working group was established pursuant to a decision of the security council.

The phrase also appears here as:

It will be recalled that the laureate has made it known that he did not wish to accept the prize.

Given that recall means remember, the phrase should mean it will be remembered that. My suspicion is that it is used to remind rather than to remember, as in "you should remember that" or "it should be noted that" or "I'd like to remind you that". Does it mean any of these, or does it mean "everyone will remember that"? or something else? And is it good English? because it seems to me not straightforward.

4

"It will be recalled that" is a phrase used to remind the reader or listener of a certain fact or event. Technically, to "recall" something is retrieving it from memory (at least, that is how the word is used in cognitive psychology). To "remember" something is ambiguous in everyday speech: it can be used as a synonym for "recall" but also in the sense of "don't forget (...)".

The phrase "it will be recalled that" (which uses the passive voice) is something that you can use in essays and articles. The phrase "I'd like to remind you that" uses the active voice instead of the passive voice is more informal and can also be used in conversation. It can sound a bit insisting or unfriendly, though.

While the phrase "it will be recalled that" appears to assume that the reader or listener should already be familiar with the information that follows, it is clearly directed only at those readers or listeners, not "everybody" (i.e. all people). The phrase "everyone will remember that" may be interpreted as "all people", not just the intended readers or listeners.

  • If it is used to remind, shouldn't it be "it should be recalled that" instead? – Sara Dec 6 '17 at 16:39
  • 2
    @Sara "It should be recalled" is used in the same way as "it will be recalled". – Christophe Strobbe Dec 6 '17 at 16:45
  • 3
    I think that it's worth noting that "it will be recalled" is very formal. In less formal writing, the author might feel free to address the reader directly or to simply state "The laureate's refusal to accept the prize doesn't affect the validity of it." – ColleenV Dec 6 '17 at 18:09
  • 1
    @Sara The nice thing about "it will be recalled" is that the writer is stating that they are certain the reader will remember. It's basically saying, "of course you know this", so it's almost flattering the reader, assuming a degree of knowledge. If you say "it should be recalled", you're telling the reader that they should, that's a little bit more like a command, it feels like I'm being spoken to by a slightly stern teacher. 'Come on, you should know this boy, we covered it last lesson, what is the capital of Nigeria?' – Au101 Dec 6 '17 at 21:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.