I read some of the paragraphs about the latest US military personnel killed in action in Iraq. One of the sentences struck me as weird:

"... died when he received small arms fire in .."

I'd've said
"... died {of/from} small arms fire in .."
Comments?

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor
For email, replace numbers with English alphabet.
 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10
I read some of the paragraphs about the latest US military personnel killed in action in Iraq. One of the ... died when he received small arms fire in .." I'd've said "... died {of/from} small arms fire in .." Comments?

I'd've also. Maybe words like "received" are designed to make war seem less atrocious. RSVP for your next bullet.

dg (domain=ccwebster)
There's another common redundancy, "Please RSVP".
I read some of the paragraphs about the latest US military personnel killed in action in Iraq. One of the ... died when he received small arms fire in .." I'd've said "... died {of/from} small arms fire in .." Comments?

He was the recipient, I suppose. Did that make the culprit the sender? The Postal Service has gone to war.
Nell
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
I read some of the paragraphs about the latest US ... said "... died {of/from} small arms fire in .." Comments?

I'd've also. Maybe words like "received" are designed to make war seem less atrocious.

Especially this season of giving and receiving that just started.
I read some of the paragraphs about the latest US military personnel killed in action in Iraq. One of the ... died when he received small arms fire in .." I'd've said "... died {of/from} small arms fire in .." Comments?

It is awkward usage, sounds overly bureaucratic, but I wouldn't call it euphemism. Euphemism involves the subtitution of a phrase or word that the utterer considers more agreeable for one that he considers unpleasant. If "died" had been replaced with "was lost" or "passed away", that would have been euphemism.

Mike Nitabach
I read some of the paragraphs about the latest US ... said "... died {of/from} small arms fire in .." Comments?

It is awkward usage, sounds overly bureaucratic, but I wouldn't call it euphemism. Euphemism involves the subtitution of a phrase or word that the utterer considers more agreeable for one that he considers unpleasant.

That was also my first reaction.
If "died" had been replaced with "was lost" or "passed away", that would have been euphemism.

Actually he was killed by the bullet, he didn't just happen to "receive" the small fire while he was dieing.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
} In article (Email Removed), CyberCypher } at (Email Removed) exposited:
}> I read some of the paragraphs about the latest US military personnel }> killed in action in Iraq. One of the sentences struck me as weird: }>
}> "... died when he received small arms fire in .." }>
}> I'd've said
}>
}> "... died {of/from} small arms fire in .."
}>
}> Comments?
}
} I'd've also. Maybe words like "received" are designed to make war } seem less atrocious. RSVP for your next bullet.
It depends on how he died. As a matter of English usage (back in my day), "receiving small-arms fire" was a matter of having it directed in your general direction. That's when you'd pick up your cell phone and press the speed-dial for your company artillery squad and say, "We're receiving small-arms fire from Hill 6. Lob a mortar round behind it, would you?"

Could be he dropped his hand grenade just after pulling the pin and then being startled by a ricochet. Not to make light of the particular situation, of course.
}
} dg (domain=ccwebster)
}
} There's another common redundancy, "Please RSVP".

Used to be, anyhow. Now "RSVP" means pretty much "call me if you're not coming" to some and "call me if you're coming" to others, so it's only polite to say "please".

R. J. Valentine
(The one thing you don't want to say when you didn't quite hear an artillery specialist is "Repeat.")
I read some of the paragraphs about the latest US military personnel killed in action in Iraq. One of the ... died when he received small arms fire in .." I'd've said "... died {of/from} small arms fire in .." Comments?

Either way, "died" seems to discount any euphemism.

And I'd probably say "died of a bullet wound in combat.." or simply "died in combat.." The details are not as important (in an inital report, at least) as the fact that the person was killed and that fact seems to be clear.
But I agree that "received small arms fire" is an odd way to say it.

While we're on the this topic, does anyone know when "firefight" replaced "gunfire"? The former sounds imprecise to me.

Maria Conlon
While we're on the this topic, does anyone know when "firefight" replaced "gunfire"? The former sounds imprecise to me.

"Gunfire" could be one-sided. Capone died in a hail of gunfire. That could describe the death of an unarmed man or of a man that didn't fire back. A "firefight", or a "gunfight", is when both sides fire at each other.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Show more