In the quote, does "report" mean "if you report something that has happened, you tell people about it"? If it means "tell", why doesn't the quote use the past simple "reported", while "said" is in the past simple form?

Less than half of men report being satisfied with their friendships, and only about 1 in 5 said they had received emotional support from a friend in the last week ... (BBC)

  • It does appear inconsistent on its face. Maybe scholars can justify it. Commented Feb 12 at 13:56
  • Thanks for the comment. Does it simply mean "tell"? Commented Feb 12 at 14:03
  • Report means a bit more than tell. It's like repeat an inner story or admit a secret. Commented Feb 12 at 14:20
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    Or tell the researchers. Commented Feb 12 at 15:15
  • It's the simple present tense. We often use this tense in English to talk of something that is a general fact, or which has been discovered from research. It's common. E.g.. Research shows that most people are in fact quite nice! Most Christians say that they believe in Jesus.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Feb 12 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


When reporting on a survey like this, it is common to use present or past tense; but in this case, the writer seems to have changed their mind half way through.

I don't think I would have noticed the change if I had been reading the report; but it is inconsistent, as you suggest.

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