I've been struggling with this exercise:

"Let's drive on to the next village and try the hotel there," he said. "But what'll we do if that's full too?" I said. "We'll just have to sleep in the car," he said, "it will be too late to try anywhere else."

I have to report this paragraph due tomorrow using verbs that are not ask, say or tell.

I began like this:

He suggested driving on to the next village and trying the hotel there. -- I now don't know how to start the next sentence.

This is my try: I wondered (/questioned) what we would do if that was full too.

Continuing -- He replied that we would just have to sleep in the car, and added that it would be too late to try anywhere else.

Thank you for answers.

Also, I wanted to know how to "backshift": tomorrow, next day, and following day.

I know tomorrow has to be converted into the next day, and next day has to be converted into the following day; what to convert the following day into?

Same as the above, do I have to convert 'in the morning' to anything? My best guess would be 'in that morning'. Is this true?

Thank you in advance.

  • Thank you for your comment but, not only that I haven't asked about that, there also aren't any sentences with 'ask' (except in this comment :)). – Idk. Apr 10 '14 at 19:20

You nailed the backshifted verbs.

As for backshifting those speechtime-relative adverbs ...

last week/month/year            the previous week/month/year OR the week/month/year before 
yesterday                       the previous day OR the day before

today                           that day
tonight                         that night
this morning/evening &c         that morning/evening &c

tomorrow                        the next/following day 
tomorrow morning/evening &c     the next/following morning/evening &c 
next week/month/year            the next week/month/year

I have heard "the day/morning/week &c after" for subsequent dates/times, but this is not common; usually "the day after" designates the day which follows tomorrow/the next day, and similarly with week/month/year.

  • Thank you, I want to ask you another question regarding this sentence: "Next time", he said severely, "apply for a new one before your current one has expired." I'd report it like this, but it sounds so weird: (1) He advised me to apply for a new one, next time, before my current one has expired. (2) He advised me next time to apply for a new one, before my current one has expired. (3) He warned me that next time I should apply for a new one, before my current one has expired. (I'm not sure if by inserting 'should' the details are preserved.) Thanks again. – Idk. Apr 10 '14 at 19:31
  • And as for backshifting 'the following day', I would suggest 'the day after that'. 'In the morning' would become 'the following morning'. – WS2 Apr 10 '14 at 19:33
  • All three are fine, but I like number 3 best. Do include the 'should'. It is perfect the way you have it. In all three cases you say 'has expired', as the last two words. You do realise, I assume, that if you are reporting this months or years later, after expiry has taken place, it would need to be 'had expired'. 'Has expired', in this context, implies that the expiry has yet to happen. – WS2 Apr 10 '14 at 19:43
  • I know; I haven't highlighted that in this exercise we have to use the rules about circumstances that negate the "backshift". Why I don't like including 'should', even though it sounds the most natural, is because when someone else would want to make it "original", they would think about including "should" in the original sentence as well. Thank you. :) – Idk. Apr 10 '14 at 19:49
  • @Idk. Should would be just fine. Past forms of modals with present reference (You should/could/might do this) remain the same when they are backshifted unless they are used to express counterfactuality - in that case, they backshift to should/could/might have + past participle. – StoneyB on hiatus Apr 10 '14 at 20:03

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