This article talks about expected situations next week:

But some expected events are referred to using past tense.

Example : Several groups were expected to take part in the demonstration on Thursday.
Why isn't it : Several groups are expected... ?

  • The question ought to stand alone, without the external reference. The reference should only be to provide fuller context. As it stands, the meaning cannot be derived from the extract alone. Sep 22, 2023 at 16:01

1 Answer 1


The context in which the police decided to issue their admonition included the fact that (at that time) it was expected that several groups would take part in the upcoming event. The passage you cite expresses no opinion about the expectations that may hold now.

  • 1
    There's also the matter of consistency through the entire article. Halfway through, there's the reported speech Roads around Parliament were expected to be closed, he said, with details on that to be provided early next week. It's just easier to stick to past tense throughout. Sep 22, 2023 at 13:27
  • @Paul Tanenbaum Does that mean that, in using simple past for these expected events, the article is sticking to just reporting them and is trying to be credible to readers who would read it after all the events in question are over and are the past ? Like next year readers ? And that it does not confirm that these events would actually happen ? Sep 22, 2023 at 17:18
  • Not necessarily, no. It simply reflects the authors’ (and editors’?) sense of the temporal relationships among the various ideas in play. Sep 22, 2023 at 17:21
  • @PaulTanenbaum Please bear with me. Can you think of some examples of the author sense of the temporal relationships emong events ? Or if there is an article I can read up. Because I am not sure I am able to use this concept in my own writings. Thank you so much. And I just hate grammar books that never talk about these things. Sep 22, 2023 at 17:29
  • I don’t think I have anything to say about that in this example that would help you. But I can offer a further consideration that should be of some use to you. Your proposed rewrite, with are expected, suggests to a native speaker that the (unspecified) agent doing the expecting may be the reporter, whereas the were expected version found in the actual article is more conducive to being understood as meaning that the agent(s)doing the expecting is (are) public officials. Sep 22, 2023 at 17:48

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