I was reading a textbook and met this sentence on the topic of reporting speech.

She asked of staff that they continue to work as normal until details of the redundancies were given.

Previously, the textbook said that the verb in the reported clause is put in the past form,but then for some reason continue was put in the present, although the last verb is in the past were given.

Maybe because it is relevant in the present or there is some other reason? I would be happy to help

2 Answers 2


Without an extensive quotation from your textbook, I cannot comment on what it says.

Your example is grammatical but not at all idiomatic in US English.

Yes, the speech is in the past, but the message is prospective in meaning and so “continue” is grammatical.

In US English, the idiomatic way to say this is

She asked the staff to continue working normally until details . . . .

or, less frequently,

She asked that the staff work normally until details . . . .

  • I will try to read about it, for some reason it was not mentioned in the textbook,thank you
    – Omegon
    Commented Jun 15, 2021 at 11:04
  • This doesn't answer the question of why it's correct, which is what the OP was after
    – gotube
    Commented Jun 15, 2021 at 20:45

She asked of staff that they continue to work as normal ...

This is the subjunctive, not simple present, so it cannot be shifted into the past. It's clearer in this example:

She asked of her foreman that he do his job as normal ..."

Here, "do" is clearly in the subjunctive form because "that he does" would be incorrect.

  • 1
    thank you for the answer
    – Omegon
    Commented Jun 15, 2021 at 11:03

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