New answers tagged indirect-speech
The time reference is the time to which the indirectly quoted speaker was referring when he said whatever he said.
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.
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, ...
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 ...
For at least some English speakers, including me, your second example is ungrammatical. The sentence complement of a verb in the past tense cannot have its verb in the present tense. This rule does not apply to verbs in relative clauses -- the following are all grammatical: I noticed the clock that stopped. I noticed the clock that had stopped. I ...
You can always use (1). You should not use (2) if the clock is no longer stopped.
1) I noticed that the clock had stopped. You looked at the clock, and it was not working. This was in the past, maybe 5 seconds ago, maybe 5 years ago 2) I noticed that the clock has stopped. You looked at the clock recently and it is not working In sentence 1, this was sometime in the past where as in sentence 2, it was also in the past but more recent
It is possible that news sources often retain the original tense in reported speech to convey the immediacy of their reporting. Consider the following: Jane: "I want Pizza." Father (who couldn't hear): "What did Jane say?" Mother: "She said she wants Pizza." While "backshifiting" (i.e. "She said she wanted Pizza.") would not be incorrect, ...
Was is correct after denied (backshift applies). But by making charges plural, and by adding the word 'claiming' you have made the phrase ambiguous (So, was he denying the charges by claiming that he was etc.?). In any case, 'claiming' is unnecessary after charge. Follow charge, or allegation simply with 'that he was...' (substantive phrase in ...
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 ...
I asked what his name is. I asked where he lives. These work fine. When I have asked someone a question recently, then I am comfortable using the present tense. I'll paint you a picture. My son and I go to the library. We see an acquaintance from a little bit of a distance. My son goes over to say hi. When he comes back, he excitedly ...
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