2

The BBC's Bethany Bell says there is "widespread" support at the OSCE's headquarters in Vienna for the need to agree a long-term monitoring mission in Ukraine, but that Russia's delegation insists it has no mandate to deploy.

Source: BBC News

What do the words "that" and "delegation" here mean? I know the delegation refers to a group of people who are represent some region, but does it mean something more in this context?

2

The "that" here does play a role. It indicates that the following idea is a continuation of Bethany Bell's reporting and understanding of the situation (the 'that' refers back to "Bethany Bell says..,"). If the word 'that' were not there, it would make it possible to understand Russia's insistence as being reported as 'general fact', or as the opinion of the writer of the article, rather than as Bethany's specific contribution. Compare the following two sentences:

Beth said there is no way she could attend, but that John could go in her place.

vs.

Beth said there is no way she could attend, but John could go in her place.

In the first sentence, there is no way to interpret the sentence as anything other than being, from beginning to end, about Beth's own opinion.

The second sentence, by contrast, is ambiguous on whether Beth thinks John could go in her place, or whether the speaker of the sentence thinks John could go in her place.

1

The line is poorly worded, the word "that" isn't necessary and the line might even be more clear without it. Read the line again skipping the word "that". The non-Russian people at the OSCE believe that the events in Russia need to be watched closely (monitored). The Russians there (the Russian delegation) are saying that they themselves are not required (they have no mandate) to mobilize (deploy). So the word delegation only means what you think it means.

  • Interesting how you call this "poorly worded." I've found that many news agencies, presumably in their rush to be "current", "first", or "late-breaking", don't seem to worry too much about the quality of their written pieces. That's why, for example, almost every "paragraph" in a news story often consists of a mere single sentence. We'd like to think that a published news article would be a good place to learn English – and that's true, to a certain extent – but these aren't always the polished pieces one might expect from professional journalists. – J.R. Mar 8 '14 at 10:39
  • In this case the line as written has some unfortunate ambiguity brought on by an unnecessary word. I had to read it a couple of times to know for sure what it was trying to say. After that it used $5 words when $1 words would have been clearer. In my opinion, clarity should be a huge priority in news reporting. You shouldn't need an advanced degree to understand the news. Perhaps it's no more poorly worded than many news stories, but overall I'm not impressed. – Jolenealaska Mar 8 '14 at 11:06
  • Speaking of badly written news stories, I just stumbled across this gem this morning: Federal agents say Ogilvie Transportation Center was one site where money was exchanged between agents and Bertoncini was exchanged. That doubled-up "was exchanged" is yet another example of how haste makes poor copy. – J.R. Mar 9 '14 at 12:03

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