"This morning, I interviewed my students to see if they like me or not."


"This morning, I interviewed my students to see if they liked me or not."

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    Possible duplicate of He said that his job IS/WAS boring – FumbleFingers Feb 3 '18 at 15:59
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    For your specific example, native speakers would normally "backshift" liked to match preceding Past Tense interviewed, even if the speaker was actually interested in knowing whether the students liked him in the general sense (including present and future, not just at some time in the past). But Present Tense like would also be perfectly valid for that context; it's just less common. – FumbleFingers Feb 3 '18 at 16:09
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    Note that like isn't the best verb for an example here, because usually if you like someone, it's a continuous state that doesn't really make us think in terms of it being an "event" that can be located in time. A better example might be I asked whether they watch/watched the news, where Present Tense watch unambiguously conveys that I was asking whether they watch the news on a regular/ongoing basis, but Past Tense watched could mean the same, OR it could mean I wanted to know if they'd watched the news last night in particular (and thus knew what had happened). – FumbleFingers Feb 3 '18 at 16:16
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    @FumbleFingers is surely right about "like" If they liked him in the morning one hopes that they still do. But a very slight change of words puts the sentence unambiguously into reported speech, requiring the past tense: "This morning, I asked my students whether they liked me or not". Does the use of "interviewed" change that situation? I don't see why it should. – JeremyC Feb 3 '18 at 16:26
  • Actual "reported speech" is just one common context where this kind of backshifting occurs. But it would be exactly the same syntactic issue in, for example, I wondered if they liked me. Although the "non-backshifted" version I wondered if they like me is significantly less likely, it doesn't sound completely ridiculous to me, But for reasons I can't easily pin down, He wondered if they like him doesn't really seem credible to me in any context. – FumbleFingers Feb 3 '18 at 16:41

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