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If I told her I love her now, she'd probably not take it seriously.

If I told her I loved her now, she'd probably not take it seriously.

In the above sentences the speaker loves the person they're talking about as of the present, so i was wondering whether both the sentences would be applicable in this context, and whether both of them could be deemed grammatically correct.

marked as duplicate by Alan Carmack, Chenmunka, Peter, Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩, Glorfindel Jul 31 '16 at 20:04

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    This question was already asked see ell.stackexchange.com/questions/86060/… – Yuri Mar 31 '16 at 16:17
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    Also here ell.stackexchange.com/questions/53444/… – Yuri Mar 31 '16 at 16:33
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    @Yuri: But native speakers often backshift to past-tense in "reported speech" contexts. If the meaning was that the love was a thing of the past (no longer true) it would be "If I told her I'd loved her..." that is, "(that) I had loved her..." – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 31 '16 at 16:57
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    @TRomano In ESL we used to teach that back-shifting was unnecessary in some cases. dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/… – Cascabel Mar 31 '16 at 19:11
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    No, I wouldn't classify it as "grammatical error" at all. But its emphasis is on what was told rather than on the fact that it was told. It's almost a self-quoting: I said to her, "the earth is a sphere". It uses the verb told in a lax manner. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 31 '16 at 19:14
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Some speakers backshift with indirect or reported speech.

I told her I loved her.

Some do not.

I told her I love her.

A speaker who normally backshifts, when he does not backshift, may be putting some additional emphasis on the actual words spoken, for whatever reason, perhaps to indicate that they're still just as true now as they were when he said them, or to get even closer to the actual words spoken, approaching a direct quote.

I told her that I love her.

What did he say to you at that meeting?
--He said I was going to regret my decision.

Of course, what he actually said was "You are going to regret your decision."

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