Position of Temporal Adverbs in Police Reports in English

Sanja Ćetković


The sequence subject followed by a temporal adverb is a distinctive feature of police written discourse. This pattern commonly occurs with first, second and third person subjects and with adverbs indicating temporal location in the past, “then“, “thereafter” and “subsequently“. The location of a temporal adverb immediately after the subject in general conversational English would be a marked selection grammatically, and this markedness may be beneficial for the verification of authenticity of statements given by suspects and witnesses during or after police interrogations. There were multiple instances of statements being allegedly given by the suspects themselves, without any kind of police intervention, in which a suspect gives his account of different events using this particular way of temporal adverb placement. The statements containing this marked language choice immediately raise doubts regarding the overall veracity of a confession to a crime.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n13p217

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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