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The Washington Post (Feb 3rd) introduces upcoming Donald Rumsfeld’s memoir in an article titled ‘Rumsfeld remains unapologetic in his memoir.'

I felt the word ‘receive’ was used in the following sentence pretty different from the usage I’m familiar with, such as ‘receive a mail (guest, impression, meaning, benefits, TV broadcast)‘. What does ‘receive’ mean in the following sentence?

Bush did not receive a timely consideration of his option, nor effective implementation of his own decision.

Why could it happen on the Earth that the former President didn't or couldn't (even not always) 'receive' his own option and decision once he made? Does it mean 'seriously deal with'? Is the usage of 'receive' in this notion very common in English, because I can't find an exact counterpart gloss to fit this case in Japanese English dictionaries at hand?

Bush 'did not always receive, and may not have insisted on, a timely consideration of his options before he made a decision, nor did he always receive effective implementation of the decisions he made,' Rumsfeld writes.

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Here also, "Why could it happen on the Earth" is not an idiomatic phrase, and should be "Why on earth could it happen…" (or perhaps "How on earth could it happen…") –  ShreevatsaR Feb 11 '11 at 8:05

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think "receive" in this case has the same meaning as "receive mail". But instead of mail, the thing that Bush (didn't) receive was this thing: "timely consideration of his option nor effective implementation of his own decision."

This is a rather long phrase, so you have to break it down:

There are two things that bush didn't receive:

  1. (Thing 1) "timely consideration of his option" (meaning, "options were not considered on time")
  2. (Thing 2) "effective implementation of his own decision" (meaning, "decisions were not implemented effectively")

So the general structure for a sentence like this is "John did not receive Thing_1 nor Thing_2". Where Thing_1 and Thing_2 can be anything, like "mail", "news", etc. For instance "John did not receive apples nor oranges". Your sentence has the exact same structure, except that the things in your sentence are more complicated.

If it makes you feel any better, that's a really poorly written sentence and I hope you don't take it as a model for writing! :)

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Whitman. So ‘His option’ here was ‘Rumsfeld’s option’ and ‘Decision he made’ was ‘Decision that Rumsfeld made,’ not ‘Bush’s option’ and ‘Bush’s own decision.’ Then its make sence to me. I took them first respectively for ‘Bush’s option’ and ‘Bushe’s decision,’ and thought it’s self-contradictry that Bush didn’t receive his own option and decision (or square with his own option and decision) by himself . It’s much easier for me to understand if the subject be reversed as “His (Rumsfeld’s) timely consideration nor effective implementation (plans) were not received by Bush.” –  Yoichi Oishi Feb 4 '11 at 6:01
    
@Yoichi - I do not think that Rumsfield is talking about his own decisions or options, but rather talking about how Bush's advisors treated Bush. Bush is definitely the subject of this sentence, not Rumsfield. –  Dexter Feb 4 '11 at 8:53
    
Dexter, then again Ramsfeld' statement start to confuse me. –  Yoichi Oishi Feb 4 '11 at 10:20
    
Dexter, then again Ramsfeld' statement starts to confuse me. In short, Bush did not receive 'consideration of his own option, nor implementation of 'his own decision, - Isn't it again, self-contradictory? Beside, there is no mention of 'Bush's advisors' but for Rumsfeld by himself in the above quote. It is more comfortable for me to interprete this sentence as portraying Bush wasn't always eager to accept or implement Rumsfeld's recommendation. Am I wrong? –  Yoichi Oishi Feb 4 '11 at 10:32
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Eureka! I came to realize that the object of ‘Receive’ here is (a timely) ‘Consideration’ (of his option) by Others, not Bush’s own option, and quick and effective ‘Implementation’ (of his decision) by Others. Now it makes sense. Thanks a lot for your suggestion. –  Yoichi Oishi Feb 4 '11 at 15:00

I think that in the context of the article, Rumsfield is talking as an observor, not an actor - he is not talking about Bush considering Rumsfield's proposals.

Rumsfield is suggesting that some people in the government did not give President Bush recommendations about his plans promptly (because of the "disagreements between senior advisors" mentioned earlier in the article).

In this context, receive means the same as get:

Mr Bush "did not always receive, and may not have insisted on, a timely consideration of his options before he made a decision ..."

means that the President did not get / was not given advice about options he wanted to consider. That is, his advisors did not provide him with policy advice quickly enough.

The paragraph preceding the text you quoted provides important context:

Mr Rumsfeld also suggests that Bush was at fault for not doing more to resolve disagreements among senior advisers.

Mr Bush "did not always receive, and may not have insisted on, a timely consideration of his options before he made a decision, nor did he always receive effective implementation of the decisions he made," he wrote.

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In that usage, you could practically replace it with get or obtain.

Receive means acquiring from somewhere/someone else. So the statement:

‘Bush did not receive a timely consideration of his option, nor effective implementation of his own decision.'

States that Rumsfeld's option (his plan/tactic/agenda) was not considered in a timely fashion (by Bush), that is to say - it was not considered sufficiently early to be of use. In the second part of the statement, Rumsfeld goes on to say that he also did not receive an 'effective implementation of his own decision'. To put that another way, his decision was not implemented properly; he wanted to obtain a state where his decision was effectively implemented, but that state was not obtained.

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What he means, Oishi-san, is that Bush wasn't really interested in what Rumsfeld thought. The consideration here is Rumsfeld's deliberation and advice about the options available.

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