Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

6

As jwpat7 pointed out, it depends on circumstances. Here is how you might use each tense, with examples for each tense: Fred: 1.) "Hey, Jim, did Jack tell you he eats your chocolate?" In this example, Fred is really informing Jim that Jack eats Jim's chocolate, even though Fred is asking a question. We might call the questioner (Fred) a snitch, ...


6

The first reports the speech ‘Words fail me.’ The second reports the speech ‘Words failed me.’


6

The direct speech in your example is a question which asks if there was a chair there at some time in the past. When you report it, you place the question further back in time, so that it becomes Somebody asked if there had been a chair there at the last lesson.


5

It's more to the point that you cannot use must in the past tense: it's had to. In the original sentence, ordered is in the past tense, so what is ordered must either be entirely uninflected ("subjunctive") or expressed as "future-of-the-past"1. A. My boss ordered that the legal documents be sent to him before lunch. B. My boss ordered that the legal ...


5

Meaning This is Valley girl slang used to introduce quoted speech, also known as a quotative. It's a way of quoting a speaker by describing them according to their statement. It's similar to saying "he's like: [quote]", or "he goes: [quote]". "He's all: [quote]" can be read as "he was all like this: [quote]". Here's an example from Do you speak American? ...


4

'I am a teacher', when reported becomes 'He said he was a teacher'. 'I was a teacher' becomes 'He said he had been a teacher'. 'I have been a teacher' equally becomes 'He said he had been a teacher'. 'I had been a teacher before I joined the army' when reported becomes 'he said he had been a teacher before he had joined the army'.


4

I asked if he hunts bears. Yes, he hunts bears for a living. He is a bear hunter. He kills bears. Yesterday, I asked if he killed the bear lying on the road. No, he has not killed any bear since the hunting season has closed. Someone else killed the bear illegally. He speaks French. Last week he spoke French to his mother. He has not spoken French since ...


4

The use of present perfect has caused indicates that the event happened in the recent past and its effects are still current. Imagine a meeting within the first hour of the earthquake: We held a meeting in Washington. The president learned that the earthquake has caused havoc all across the country. The National Guard was mobilised. All of those ...


3

I would like and I want are different ways of expressing volition. For that reason, it would be inaccurate to report I would like to swim as She said she wanted to swim. It has to be She said she would like to swim. This use of would is sometimes described as having ‘unreal meaning’, but in cases such as this it is perhaps better seen as expressing a ...


3

This is correct: “You Bi would like to swim.” = “You Bi wants to swim.” → “You Bi said she wanted to swim.” You can also use would unchanged: “I would like to swim.” → “You Bi said she would like to swim.” Here, you can analyse would as conditional—if You Bi went swimming, she would like it. Would is also (morphologically) the past form of ...


3

Both are correct. Melissa said she WAS going to the mall. This implies that at some point she had informed you that she was going to the mall. Whether she went there is ambiguous. Melissa said she IS going to the mall. This implies that she is on her way to the mall. Depending on the situation, either could be right. For example, you're in ...


3

I believe it's in that tense because he is referring what the plans were at that time, not the actual future events that will be occurring tomorrow night. If your plans change you don't say "We are going to the game next week but it's too expensive so we are watching at home instead." you say "We were going to the game next week but it's too expensive so ...


3

"Did she even ask you what you were doing tomorrow night? If you were busy?" Your example is about indirect reported speech that is using the backshift preterite (that is, a past-tense verb) for the subordinate clauses that are expressing what had been asked by her. She had asked something like: "What are you doing tomorrow night? Are you busy?" ...


3

Yes, backshifting is optional both in reported speech and in cases like your example, as long as the subordinate clause is still true and is relevant to the present.


3

Your book is not wrong, but it is not right, either. Every one of the answers except (a) may be acceptable in some contexts; and I'm not sure that an appropriate context for (a) is impossible. b. I asked Brian this morning about Harry. He said that they have known each other for years, and anything he says can be relied on. c. I asked Harry about ...


2

NB: I find it nicer to put "to say" before "that", though why I find that nicer is probably a subject for another post. I've done that here. If the class was in the past then the first example is fine. Lucy expected you in the class on Thursday. Where were you? Didn't she get the message? I sent her an email to say that I wouldn't come to the class. ...


2

John told Sean to let him help him. I realise that creates ambiguity as to who was going to help who, but the context would probably sort it out.


2

The parentheses are part of the speech; if there could be any doubt, the context makes it unquestionable: —Еh bien, mon prince. Genes et Lucques ne sont plus que des apanages, des поместья, de la famille Buonaparte. Non, je vous previens, que si vous ne me dites pas, que nous avons la guerre, si vous vous permettez encore de pallier toutes les infamies, ...


2

1: Mom asked Gramma why she hasn't been answering 2: Mom asked Gramma why she hadn't been answering 3: Mom asked Gramma why she didn't answer In both #1 and #2, the implication is that Gramma has repeatedly failed to answer. But #1 further implies she was still ignoring the phone right up until when Mom asked why (or, noting StoneyB's comments ...


2

Having looked at the site that @bigbadonk420 referred to in his answer, I disagree with that answer and interpretation of the quoted site. On my reading of that site, the two options for reported speech are (using the OP's quotation): with backshift: He said that his name was Harry without backshift: He says that his name is Harry There is no ...


2

Strict sequence-of-tenses gets muddy when Speech time, Event time and Reference time overlap, as in your instance. When I got home yesterday, John called and said he will arrive next week. Here, the Event time (next week, the time of the event ‘I’ am speaking about in this clause) happens to lie in the future with respect to both the time when John ...


2

Your instincts are completely correct. Your "grammatically correct" versions are clunky, awkward, and no fun to read. Your simplified versions are completely idiomatic, smooth, easy, and enjoyable to read. Throw away the rules. Go by your ear. Keep it simple and idiomatic. And keep up the good work! You're a good writer.


2

The sentence She asked the teacher what should she do. Is not written or spoken by a native speaker I assume. I would guess what is meant is: She asked the teacher what she should do. And that sentence does indeed mean: She asked the teacher: "What should I do?"


2

As a native speaker of English, I find both of these sentences grammatically correct, but I would use them in slightly different circumstances. I would use the first when my father had already arrived: "My mother said we would have dinner when my father got home. Well, he's been here since six o'clock and we still haven't had anything to eat!" I'd use the ...


2

The teacher asked Marga, "Who helped you with your work?" The teacher asked Marga who had helped her with her work. Because the original question was a subject question and there was no subject auxiliary inversion, the reported speech doesn't require any change of word order there. The reported version uses the past perfect, to reflect the ...


2

No, they're not right. But in your example, "He said that while he was watching television, the light (went/had gone) out.", the choice compatible with the sequence-of-tenses rule is "went", not "had gone". The light going out is contemporaneous with the watching of TV, so they are reported using the same tense: "was watching" and "went out". You'd only ...


2

It's a complicated situation, with English seeming to be in flux. Here is my idea about one thing that is going on. Sometimes, what appears to be a complement sentence functions as the main assertion, and what appears to be the main clause gives the grounds for that assertion. When this is so, the functional main assertion may have a present tense verb, ...


2

If Citibank was in debt at the point the rumor went around, the correct sentence would be There was a rumor that Citibank was in debt. If Citibank was in debt before the actual rumor was started (meaning a prior event to someone making the statement) : There was a rumor that Citibank had been in debt. As far as I'm aware, you'd only use "is" in a ...


1

The default is that, in the words of the ‘Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English’ (LSGSWE), ‘the tense of the verb in the indirect quote agrees with the past tense of the reporting verb’. That is the case in ‘He said he liked pizza.’ However, the LSGSWE goes on to say ‘although this use of past tense in reported speech is common, reported ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible