1

In a blog, I read the following line:

In its report, the Board has also asked the Special Investigation Team to investigate whether someone with access to either "insulin or hypoglycemic agent" was present near the Leela Palace hotel, where Sunanda died, on January 17, 2014.

To my mind, there is no need to put 'access to' here as the sentence looks ok without putting it:

In its report, the Board has also asked the Special Investigation Team to investigate whether someone with either "insulin or hypoglycemic agent" was present near the Leela Palace hotel, where Sunanda died, on January 17, 2014.

Is 'access to' redundant here? If no, then what does it signify in the sentence?

  • 4
    No, it's not redundant. There is a difference between having an access to insulin and having a vial or a pen of insulin with you. – CowperKettle Jan 22 '16 at 8:59
  • That's why I asked about the significance also. – Rucheer M Jan 22 '16 at 9:00
5

I have access to insulin: I have an insulin pen on a bookshelf in my apartment.

Thus, I am a person who has access to insulin. However, then I go shopping or riding a bicycle, I don't take the insulin pen with me.

From the investigator's standpoint, I might have the insulin pen with me at any time, because I have access to it. It is the investigator's job to be suspicious of everyone.

So if someone is found dead and with an injection mark on his body, and I was nearby when this death occured, the investigator might suspect me of involvement in the crime.

However, the investigation will have to prove that I actually had some insulin with me during that time, because "having access" does not equal "having the insulin pen with you at the time of the crime".

4

access is not redundant here.

When you have something, you have it.

When you have an access to something, you don't have it, but you can have it whenever you require it.

Let's create a scene:

A terrorist has a gun and he entered into the hotel.

Here, the terrorist has it. You see a gun in his hand.

But then...

A terrorist has an access to a gun

may mean that you don't see a gun in his hands. But if he wants, he can have it. So, either he may have gun in his pocket from where he can have access to the weapon or in the hotel itself, he has hide the gun somewhere. He has access to it.

  • 3
    This may be a dialect issue, but access is normally a mass noun, so it would be "A terrorist has access to a gun" not "an access to a gun". – stangdon Jan 22 '16 at 12:54
  • @stangdon I agree – user25267 Jan 22 '16 at 13:21
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    "When you have something, you have it" - a non-tautological definition (e.g. currently possess) would be much more helpful. – Esoteric Screen Name Jan 22 '16 at 15:51
  • @stangdon I many not agree with that. Because ...someone's aim was to give children in rural areas an access to education. – Maulik V Jan 23 '16 at 5:03
  • @MaulikV - This may still be a dialect issue, then. In US English we would say "access to education". I noticed the author of that piece has a Japanese name (so she may not be a native speaker) and the BBC presumably uses British usage. All of the dictionaries I looked at say access is a noncount word. – stangdon Jan 23 '16 at 16:08
1

Of course if the someone died from an overdose of insulin, somebody would have had to have insulin on their person at the scene, However...

The reason for using the phrase has access to might be a technical one.

Insulin is a controlled substance so anyone one with normal access to it would either have to be of a certain rank or status, or a user. They may be asking if either a medical person or a diabetic was at the scene of the crime thereby establishing how the medication was available.

As a corollary, usage of controlled substances are logged and there may be a record of where it came from.

  • 1
    A side but useful note: In India, we can have access to any drug! You don't need to be diabetic if you want to purchase insulin injection. Nor do you need any prescription. One word for that - irony! – Maulik V Jan 22 '16 at 10:51
  • @MaulikV - same here. It's sold freely in Russia – CowperKettle Jan 25 '16 at 18:59

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