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Monday, May 20, 2013

Past tenses and such

Kevin Drum has a post on the IRS scandal, which doesn't interest me all that much (this whole 'scandal' strikes me as everybody chasing the wrong bouncing ball). What does interest me is this sentence at the very end:

They are among the first in what is quickly becoming a whole new subgenre: the story about how the Cincinnati office of the IRS is completely and totally FUBARed.

Here's my thing: Isn't FUBAR already past-tense? Can something really be FUBARed, when the -ed suffix has already been used in the F part of the FUBAR acronym? Seems to me that FUBAR covers all bases, in terms of tense:

"That's gonna be so FUBAR!"

"Wow, that is really FUBAR."

"That whole thing was just so FUBAR."



Justin Whitaker said...

You are correct sir!

Chris said...

Hm. Good question.

I'd say "FUBAR" isn't past tense, it's an adjective. I have heard "FUBARed" before, though.

Also "FU" in FUBAR is more of an adjective. Think of "screwed up."

"That was screwed up."
"That is screwed up."
"That will be totally screwed up!"

Etc. :-D

Roger Owen Green said...

As fussy as I can be, the absence of the -ed SOUNDS wrong.

Then again, there are fussbudgets who hate RBIs, and it doesn't bother me either.

If I were writing SIL (for sister-in-law); if I had more than one, how would the reader know? I'd write SILs.

For me, in dealing with acronyms, clarity is the key, not propriety.

Roger Owen Green said...

As I think more on this, I HAVE heard FUBAR NOT as a past tense. "You really know how to FUBAR." So the -ed isn't always already present anyway, in my experience.

Earl of Obvious said...

You are right in that the real issue here is not the IRS but rather the reign of terror unbridled bureaucracy can ignite.

Note the lack of accountability and shoulder shrugging from the outgoing chief. FUBAR indeed