Questions tagged [backshifting]

The changing of a present tense in direct speech to a past tense in reported speech

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Problem with backshift (past simple to past perfect)

Last week in an EFL class I told students that when reporting a speech they should "backshift" the main verb, exception made when the statement is a general truth or it is still valid. In their ...
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108 views

Is this an example of indirect speech?

I wrote: School starts in August next year? I thought it started in September. I proposed that this is one good example of how grammar can confuse people because a preterite (started) is used to ...
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1answer
161 views

Why isn't it “had handed” in “the girl alleged that her mother handed her over”?

In the following reported speech: The girl alleged that her mother handed her over to a pimp and was taking Rs 40,000 from him every month. — Times of India Newspaper, 1st May 2018 Why is it ...
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1answer
129 views

Backshift with a past continuous

Is it correct when using reported speech to say: Jan said that on the weekend she cycled and went hiking rather than Jan said that on the weekend she cycled and had gone hiking? Tks Jan
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25 views

How to interpret a reported speech

Ex 1) Direct speech: He said " We lived here for 5 years" Indirect speech : He told me that they had lived there for 5 years. Ex 2) Direct speech: He said " We have lived here for 5 ...
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19 views

The Present (Concessive) Subjunctive (Whether/If It Be) in Past Tense Cases

Did the present, concessive subjunctive (“if it be the case”; “whether it be the case”) ever have a place in past-tense sentences? To my understanding, the subjunctive “were” and the conditionals in ...
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46 views

Use of 'would' for evidentiality in American English

In American English, "would" is used more often than in British English. It seems that one reason is using 'would' for evidential use in American English. especially for indirect ...
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2answers
153 views

Would not be able to versus will not be able to

Linda phoned and explained that she would not be able to come to the party the next day because she was still sick. Why do we use would not instead of will not?
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2answers
2k views

Couldn't have been more wrong vs Couldn't be more wrong

Is there a difference between 'I couldn't have been more wrongˇ and 'I couldn't be more wrong' if used after a sentence like 'I thought he would appreciate the gesture'?
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35 views

Second conditional sentence

Consider this following sentence: a) "I will go wherever you go." Sometimes out of politeness or based on some conditions we convert the above sentence to the following second conditional: b) "I ...
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1answer
207 views

I'd appreciate it if + <past tense> + until + <present or past tense?>

These three examples have the same construction of I'd appreciate it if you + past tense verb + ... + until + subject + present or past tense verb... The first one has the present tense verb ...