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Today we have used a large number of assets comprising 34 aircraft, 40 ships, hundereds of men, thousands of man-hours has been deployed.

From Euronews.

I know man-hours means the amount of work that could be done in an hour. But "deploy" means be in the right position and ready to be used, doesn't it?

So am I interpreting the text correctly? ... We are ready or there are many persons ready to work hard during incoming hours.

  • 3
    Good grief! How do you expect us to reasonably analyze text when (1) you don't provide a link, and (2) you don't even copy it correctly. -1. “Today, we have used a large number of assets, comprising of 34 aircraft, 40 ships, hundreds of men, thousands of man-hours has been deployed.” Copy, paste, and link. – J.R. Mar 10 '14 at 10:40
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Deploy means more than put into position for use; that definition is often used in a military context.

According to CDO:

deploy (v.)

  1. to use something or someone, especially in an effective way: The company is reconsidering the way in which it deploys its resources/staff.

  2. to move soldiers or equipment to a place where they can be used when they are needed: The decision has been made to deploy extra troops/more powerful weapons.

The speaker is using the word deploy in the sense of Definition 1 – to use something.

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As others have pointed out, the sentence has other problems. To visualize, consider:

Today, we have used a large number of assets ... has been deployed.

Either "We have used a large number of assets[, comprising...]." or "A large number of assets [...] have been deployed" would be correct, but not both. Also, "comprising of" is incorrect. It should be "consisting of", "comprising [no of]", or (maybe) "composed of".

Also, semantically, saying both the number of personnel and the number of man-hours seems redundant to my eye.

It's possible that there is a comma splice somewhere in this sentence which would at least account for the redundant verbs, but it's hard to pick out among the rest.

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Let's look at the phrase from the original source -

“Today, we have used a large number of assets, comprising of 34 aircraft, 40 ships, hundreds of men, thousands of man-hours has been deployed. And countries that assisted us include Vietnam China Singapore Indonesia USA Thailand Australia and the Philippines.”

Along with obviously noticed 'comma' issues, the statement does have some grammatical flaws including your concern.

I feel man hours and deployed can go together as they do here.

  • I think any grammatical errors are forgivable, considering the excerpt in question was not authored by a journalist, but was spoken by Dato Azharuddin Abdul Rahman during a rather stressful time. From what I understand, English is a second language in Malaysia, and Malaysian English is its own dialect; I wouldn't want to try to pinpoint any grammatical flaws. The Director General did a better job saying it in English than I could have done in Malay :^) – J.R. Mar 10 '14 at 10:52
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In addition to the many errors pointed out by others, I agree with you that "deployed" is odd with "man-hours". Also, "has been" does not agree with the plural "thousands of men".

  • "... man-hours have been expended (or spent)

would have been better.

In addition, the sentence needs something other than a comma between "men" and "thousands"; at least a semicolon or an "and" (or possibly a full stop—that's what xxx meant by "comma splice")

  • ...men, and thousands
  • ...men; thousands
  • ...men. Thousands

If "deployed" is to be used, it should come immediately after "assets", because the assets were deployed, but the man-hours were expended.

But, as has been pointed out, such infelicities are to be expected in transcribed speech—likely, that's what was actually said.

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