I would like to ask, what grammatical construction was used in the sentence below.

She had a test tomorrow, but she was getting nowhere.

I just do not understand this at all. It looks a little bit like Reported Speech but without "She said that (...)".

Also, can we say it differently, e.g.:

She was going to have a test the next day, but she was getting nowhere.

[Future in the Past + Past Continuous to emhasize parallelness of thinking about test and going nowhere]

The next sentence from the same paragraph in the book is:

Tomoko Oishi wasn’t going to be ready for it even if she pulled an all-nighter.

In this sentence we have "Future in the Past" construction.

Thank you very much in advance for your help.


Most stories are written in the simple past. This is because, even if they are fictional, they are meant to describe something that has happened and is now being described.

This construction is classic simple past, as would be used in a novel or any description of past events.

First, lets, put it into the present tense, to compare:

"She has a test tomorrow, but is getting nowhere."

You might use the above sentence if you are talking about your friend, who is currently struggling to revise for a test. However, if you are describing an event that happened in the past, you just change the two verbs ("has" and "is") and replace them with their simple past forms ("had and "was"), and voilà, the original sentence:

"She had a test tomorrow, but was getting nowhere."

The same logic can be applied to your second example about Tomoko Oishi. Think about the present form you would get if you changed the verbs "wasn't" and "pulled" to their present forms - "isn't" and "pulls".

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