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changed history

Biggest pet peeve: anything that “changed history.” You cannot change what has already happened. It is over and done with. Even if you go back in time and make changes, you have not changed history, because now it never happened the original way. The original events never happened, became “the past,” and were therefore never history! The only history at that point is the one that did take place as a result of changes being made. There is only one history, regardless of sci-fi movies’ time travel themes, etc., and that is why every form of the phrase “to change history” drives me crazy!

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If I may hazard a guess, I would suggest that the expression "changed history" likely came from the more plausible and lengthy expression "changed the course of history," which could certainly be the case in a given example (think of the death of Hitler, or any other tyrannical dictator) where had said event not occured, then the course of human history could have been dramatically disparate from factual reality. On the other hand, I wouldn't put it past some dolts to use "changed history" in such a literal and baselessly false manner such as you suggest, but I'd be willing to bet that among more intellectually advanced circles in society, even the wish-washy shorthand version is often used to express the intentional (read: plausible) meaning...

Further reading:

(please excuse any typos... the old computing box is acting rather strangely today)

Nancy D July 23, 2012 @ 7:08PM

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There is a difference between the historical and the historic. The former is everything that happened; the latter what is considered to be significant. The former is fixed; the latter is a matter of assessment, revision and debate.

I suggest that when it is said something has changed history what is meant is that it has changed what in history we consider to be historic.

Things that changed history may belong to the latter category.

Percy July 24, 2012 @ 1:51AM

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You seem to be using a rather narrow definition of history here. As a discipline it can change, as can the narration of past events.

Jeremy Wheeler July 24, 2012 @ 8:47AM

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To Percy,

Can I ask you a question? So what is the exact difference between classical and classic? Thanks.

EnglishKnight1 July 24, 2012 @ 10:17PM

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Same sort of thing.

Classic refers to quality; classical to a historical period.

In the West the classical period is the era of Ancient Greece and Rome.

A classic is the one of the best of its kind, or is considered to be a model or standard.

Jane Austen's novels are literary classics, but she wasn't an ancient Greek.

You could, of course, say the nineteenth century was the classical period of the English novel, of which Austen's are classics (but not all nineteenth century novels are).

Percy July 25, 2012 @ 12:34AM

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When we can say about a current movie classic, an immediate joke classic,the discipline more about ancient Greek beings and roman beings at university is titled Classics,

Jane Austen has been my girl since I was 13 in highschool in China.

EnglishKnight1 July 25, 2012 @ 4:32AM

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Changed history...reminds me of the History Channel's tagline. History: Made every day. In the sense that a person does anything at all, they change tomorrow's history. Since we've put it in the past tense (changed rather than changing), would that require time travel?

Patricia1 November 13, 2012 @ 8:32PM

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To MedEd,

The owner of the thread was mentioning " to change history"..and by so, he would need to travel back in time to "change" history. So, you may need to go back and "change history"?

Just my two cents.

EnglishKnight1 November 13, 2012 @ 10:55PM

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