I found the following sentence in a students' book for learning business English: "Their shares will yield a decent dividend, given past form". The sentence is NOT in a context, it is just an example of using Future. However, I don't understand the meaning of the last phrase - "given past form". Could anyone help? Thanks for your time.


In short "given past form" means in one word historically, That is looking back these shares have consistently performed well in producing a relatively good dividend ratio.

Most dictionaries do not explain this well in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Value-form you will see the term "form of value"

It is not simply that "money becomes the general expression of the form of value of goods being traded" there is a secondary meaning of "given past per-form-ance" similar to that used in "on form" similar to the way we use it for sport "His form this season has been brilliant"

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This sentence is making a prediction about shares in the future.

Saying "given past form" is meant to qualify that this is not a guess, it is an assumption that is being made because of the way these shares have performed in the past.

"Form," in this sense, seems to mean: the way things are arranged or constructed in a pattern.

I more straightforward way to say this would be to say:

"We assume their shares will yield a decent dividend, because of how they have performed in the past."

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  • In fact, the sentence is making a prediction but one based on (given) past performance. – Tuffy Nov 22 '18 at 20:58

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