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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 9th, 2015, 09:09 pm
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Default Please explain what it means?

Hi,

"Is it the case that children can walk out of care homes & staff can't stop them?"

I took the example from the internet. I would like to know what "is it the case that..." means here.

Thanks a lot.

Last edited by susan53 : Aug 10th, 2015 at 12:42 am.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 10th, 2015, 12:47 am
Sue
 
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Default Re: Please explain what it means?

It means : Is it true that...

Here, case means situation. For example I might say:

My brother might be here tomorrow. In that case, he can look after the dogs while I go shopping.

In other words, I'm not sure if he's coming, but if it happens, if the situation is that he's here, then I can go shopping while he looks after the dogs.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 10th, 2015, 05:58 pm
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Default Re: Please explain what it means?

Hi Susan,

Is there any subtle difference in usage and meaning between 'is it the case that...' and 'is it true that...' in the sentences below?

Is it the case that /Is it true that children can walk out of care homes & staff can't stop them?

Thanks a lot.
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Unread Aug 11th, 2015, 02:00 am
Sue
 
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Default Re: Please explain what it means?

No, not really. If I was writing eg a letter to the authorities I would probably choose the slightly more formal "is it the case that..." but the difference is very slight.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 11th, 2015, 09:23 pm
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Default Re: Please explain what it means?

Hi Susan,
Is it OK to use 'is it the case that...' in informal situations, too?
For example:
Is it the case that you were fired? (The wife asked her husband)
Is it the case that you failed the history exam? I know you had worked on it very hard.

Do these sentences sound natural?

Thank you very much.
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Unread Aug 12th, 2015, 02:32 pm
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Default Re: Please explain what it means?

Hi Susan and face,

I hope it's okay for me to chime in here. I'm new to this site. Here are a few additional thoughts for anyone who is interested.

I've always learned and taught that the simplest way of saying something is often the best, most natural way.

Were you fired?
Did you fail your test?
Did he win the gold medal in swimming?
What can workers do if a child leaves the daycare without permission?


In addition to what you said, Susan, tone of voice can really affect meaning with these two phrases: Is it true that and Is it the case that. The wording can easily imply confrontation. If I don't want to seem argumentative, I would use a soft tone.

Written or Spoken
Is it the case that... and Is it true that... can imply one of two meanings:

1. Doubt
The writer/speaker has doubts about what follows the phrase.

Is it the case that you were fired?
Is it true that you were fired? (more natural)

If there is no doubt, and I just want to know the answer, I would say, Were you fired? This is very cold though.

In formal written language, this is what I would say if I doubted that Eric had won the gold medal in swimming:

According to the New York Times, Eric won the gold medal in swimming. Is this the case?

If I did not doubt the truth of the information, and I just want to know the answer, I would say,
Did he win the gold medal in swimming?

2. Emotional Confrontation
Chris is emotionally confronting John. Chris wants John to admit to what John has done.

Is it true that you did...

This can imply frustration and/or anger, depending on tone of voice.

Is it true/the case that you fired my husband?
Is it true/the case that you failed your test?

Your original example also implies emotional confrontation:

Is it the case that children can walk out of care homes & staff can't stop them? Here, the word case seems to imply some formality and perhaps even more emotion. In this case (=instance), I would add the word just, as follows:

Is it the case that children can just walk out of...

In casual, sympathetic language...
If John told me that James had failed the test, I might say to James (with a soft tone to my voice),

Is it really true that you failed your test? I know how hard you have been working.

The use of really softens the tone of the question. This is less argumentative/confrontational.

I hope this helps!
Jaykay

First Language: English
Elementary School Teacher
Canada
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  #7 (permalink)  
Unread Aug 14th, 2015, 09:28 pm
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Default Re: Please explain what it means?

Quote:
Quote Jaykay View Post



2. Emotional Confrontation
Chris is emotionally confronting John. Chris wants John to admit to what John has done.

Is it true that you did...

This can imply frustration and/or anger, depending on tone of voice.

Is it true/the case that you fired my husband?

Is it the case that children can walk out of care homes & staff can't stop them? Here, the word case seems to imply some formality and perhaps even more emotion. In this case (=instance), I would add the word just, as follows:

Is it the case that children can just walk out of...

Hi Jaykay,
Could you explain what 'formality' means here?
Do you mean it's not natural to use 'is it the case that' in informal situations?

Thank you very much for your great answer.
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