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adherenceenglish's avatar

Definition for “reduced at times”?

Asked by adherenceenglish (45points) October 24th, 2020

What is the meaning for “reduced at times” in the paragraph below:

With a pugilistic Trump relentlessly interrupting Biden, Mr. Wallace struggled to keep the proceedings coherent, reduced at times to pleading with the president to pause and allow Biden to speak.

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10 Answers

janbb's avatar

It means that “sometimes he had to resort” to pleading with the president…........

That does help or is it still hard to understand?

adherenceenglish's avatar

Thank you, why “reduce” is used here? What the definition for “reduce” here? It puzzle me many days. Could you please give me a detailed explanation? I am not a native English speaker, however, I like to learn English.

janbb's avatar

“Reduced’ implies that he had to take a lower or more unpleasant action. A moderator wouldn’t normally have to plead with a debater to follow the rules so “reduced at times” implies that Wallace had to take a more extreme action – pleading – to control the president. It’s a little unusual use of the word; i can understand why for a non-native speaker it is hard to understand.

adherenceenglish's avatar

Thank you very much. Now, I understand.

janbb's avatar

You’re welcome!

si3tech's avatar

Having no other option.

Jeruba's avatar

Great explanation from @janbb.

I would add that the expression should be taken in two parts. It’s not a unitary phrase. “At times” just means “sometimes” or “occasionally” or “now and then”: in other words, interrupted and not constant, with instances lasting for short periods relative to the whole duration.

The frequency relates to how long the total period of time is. In the case of the debate, “at times” implies intervals of minutes, because the whole thing was less than two hours long. But if we were talking about, say, a forty-year career, things that happened “at times” might occur years apart. You might read, for instance, that a movie actor with a lifetime of starring roles had at times given performances that were best forgotten.

“Reduced” suggests a hierarchy of possible actions, with the ones at the top most preferred and the ones at the bottom least desirable. It means having moved down that hierarchy. A person in reduced circumstances is less well off—that is, poorer—than before.

Being “reduced to” something means being brought down to it by some adverse situation. The person is diminished or made smaller in some way by having to choose a lower option. It’s never a good thing. You might say, for instance, that a person who had lost his job was reduced to asking for handouts from his parents, or that someone who’d lost an argument was reduced to calling her opponent insulting names.

In the quotation you cited, Mr. Wallace is brought down or diminished by the position he’s in and must stoop to begging Mr. Trump to stop speaking. There’s a suggestion of helplessness or desperation. By the time he has to plead for compliance, he has already lost control of the situation.

adherenceenglish's avatar

Hi Jeruba, thank you very much for your further explanation.

nicklindsey5674's avatar

So the five definitions for this word are, decrease, abate, diminish, dwindle, and lessen, so this should solve.

adherenceenglish's avatar

Hi nicklindsey5678, thank you.

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