I read an article of Economist, and now I have a question.

Chamberlain returned home believing that he had cast-iron assurances from Hitler not to invade Czechoslovakia, famously waving the letter Hitler had signed as he disembarked in Britain. Writing in 1938, The Economist was far more cautious. “There is nothing optimistic,” we wrote “in a forecast that sees only a breathing space before the return of crisis, whether that breathing space be six months or two years.

Above is an excerpt from the article, and I wonder why they used "Writing in 1938" instead of "Written in 1938". I mean, I think it would be much more correct gramatically when it comes to say "Written in 1938, The Economist was far more cautious."

Can you tell me the reason why they used 'writing in'?

1 Answer 1


Can you tell me the reason why they used 'writing in'?

If you said "Written in 1938, The Economist ...", you are using the phrase "written in 1938" as an adjective describing The Economist.

But the Economist was not written in 1938. Editions of the magazine have been written in every year from 1843 to 2018. It would simply be inaccurate to say The Economist was written in 1938.

Saying "Writing in 1938, The Economist..." describes one thing The Economist has done, but doesn't imply this is the only time The Economist ever wrote something. It's saying that on one occasion, in 1938, The Economist wrote a cautious statement.

(The usage does refer to The Economist an entity capable of doing things like writing, which is a bit odd to American ears. But I believe it's fairly common in British usage to use the name of an institution (team, magazine, band, etc.) to refer collectively to the people who make up the institution)

  • Thank you very much! Now I can understand clearly.
    – claire
    Oct 10, 2018 at 6:09

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