4

In the Oxford Dictionary definition of account, under the "Phrasal Verbs" section this definition:

account for somebody/something
1. to know where somebody/something is or what has happened to them, especially after an accident

has the example sentence:

All passengers have now been accounted for.

Is this saying the current status, or saying the search for all passengers has just finished right this moment?

  • 2
    It's not necesssarily a search. It just means that somebody knows where all the passengers are. They might all be boarding the aircraft, so now we can shut the door at the gate. – J.R. Dec 15 '14 at 22:14
6

That sentence describes a change in the status of the search. Before, all of the passengers were not accounted for, but now they are. The change wasn't necessarily right this moment.

If you say this:

All passengers have been accounted for.

The focus is on the current state. If you say this:

All passengers have now been accounted for.

The focus is on the change from the previous state. (That is, the state of all passengers not being accounted for.)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.