Questions tagged [backshifting]

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Doubt about backshift (reported speech) for events that are still on going [duplicate]

I have a doubt about using backshift in this following situation: Peter: "I have a good job now." Peter said that he had a good job now.............or................Peter said that he has a good ...
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28 views

Is it right to not change “tomorrow“ into “the next day” when it is indirect speech?

Is that sentence right or it is necessary to change “tomorrow”? He said that he would travel tomorrow. He said that he would travel the next day.
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1answer
32 views

“found out that she had a boyfriend” Vs “found out that she has a boyfriend”?

are both sentences below grammatically correct? Her parents found out that she had a boyfriend. Her parents found out that she has a boyfriend. If yes, I guess, the first sentence implies that she ...
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1answer
21 views

Using tenses correctly to describe some correct/incorrect events in the past

Here are two examples: I thought we had an exam. I didn't know (that) you liked her. The second example was taken from here. According to the discussions, it doesn't imply anything about the ...
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1answer
32 views

Reported Speech - Backshifting or not?

I've seen a lot of exceptions for the reported speech and I would like to debate and thereby clear the things that are on my mind regarding this subject. I've seen these types of "Rules" of ...
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36 views

Do people really use the grammar “Past Perfect+Past Simple”?

Grammar books say when something happens before something else, we should use had+past particle in the sentence that happened at first and then say the second sentence in past tense. Do people use it ...
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32 views

What tense should I use in an adverbial clause when Future in the Past used in the content clause?

In a sentences like John said that he would go abroad when he (will be | would be) twenty or I thought I would work in IT after I (graduated | will graduate | would graduate ) the university ...
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1answer
27 views

The usage of past perfect

Can you please tell me whether or not it is pertinent to use pluperfect tense here: I thought that more time than that had passed. Is the sentence grammatically correct? To give you a context: I ...
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16 views

Which sentence is correct? Should the tense be present or past?

She also averred that, on Thursdays, which was the day of the week of the alleged service . . . OR She also averred that, on Thursdays, which is the day of the week of the alleged service . . .
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17 views

“He mentioned that time and speeds are critical factors in successful deployment.”

He mentioned that time and speeds are critical factors in successful deployment. Is the above sentence correct or wrong?
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1answer
49 views

“Everybody thought we should sell” vs “Everybody thought we should have sold”

Everybody thought we should sell Everybody thought we should have sold While I was watching the news, I came to wonder about this question. As far as I know, the tense after "that" should be ...
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1answer
30 views

Have you explained why you did/have done/had done?

Let’s say I know my friend has broken up with his girlfriend. I don’t know when, but I know he has. I want to know whether or not he’s given her brother an explanation. What should I ask? Have you ...
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2answers
146 views

future in reported speech when reporting verb is in the past

I have read the following sentence: He said he will follow me to the end. AFAIK in reported speech, the future tense is replaced with the conditional tense when the reporting verb is in the past. ...
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42 views

Should I backshift with “If you ever wondered…”?

Do I use present or past tense after the phrase "If you ever wondered"? Examples: If you ever wondered what hell looks like, ... If you ever wondered what hell looked like, ...
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1answer
16 views

Past simple in specific reported speech

I'm writing a short story for a C2 Creative Writing course, and I couldn't help but come across this question regarding reported speech. My main question is this: consider someone says, "I ate the ...
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1answer
48 views

Sequence of tences

Should you say me which is correct? Our teacher said the place where we were going to stay IS supposed to have beautiful paysages. Our teacher said the place where we were going to stay WAS ...
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1answer
27 views

backshifting past simple in that clauses

Let' say someone tells you the following about another person called George: George was a good guy. If this person means that George was a good guy but he no longer is, do I have to backshift the ...
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303 views

She said that she has/had seen a tiger

Which one is more correct: 1) She said that she has seen a tiger. 2) She said that she had seen a tiger.
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2answers
42 views

Why 'can', not 'could' in “She told us that we can use the kitchen.”?

Why 'can', not 'could' in "She told us that we can use the kitchen."? I thought that since the main verb is 'told' that the following sentence after 'that~' should use the past tense, 'could', too. ...
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1answer
59 views

Tenses in 'Did I tell you what happened to me?'

Why can't we use Past Perfect in the second clause of the sentence 'Did I tell you what happened to me?' if the second clause happened before 'Did I tell you' As far as I know, we use Past ...
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1answer
15 views

sequence of tenses issue (called)

I am wondering Which one is correct "I had a traditional Filipino dish that is called tinolang manok." or "I had a traditional Filipino dish that was called tinolang manok." Are both sentences ...
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1k views

She told me that she HAS / HAD a gun [duplicate]

I edited this question, since the original (or current one, revised by ColleenV) post has this sentence. For instance, in “She told me that she has a gun”, I edited this sentence to For ...
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1answer
88 views

Which one is the correct form of reported speech for the following sentence?

Which one is the correct form of reported speech for the following sentence? why? "When were you born?", he asked him. => 1- He asked him when he had been born. 2- He asked him when he was born....
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1answer
145 views

“she was raped” or “she had been raped” in this reported speech

A) A 21 year old girl studying in Vidynagar alleged that she was raped by a boy in a hotel in the city on August 23. Based on above complaint police arrested accuse. B) A 21 year old girl ...
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2answers
41 views

Are both of these sentences correct?

I have to transform the following sentence into indirect speech: 'I haven't got any money',he said My transformation is : He said he hadn't got any money. The answer key only lists He said ...
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1answer
65 views

Backshifting in Reported Speech

The exec was making a presentation to the company board."Computers have allowed us to cut costs," he explained. "We expect even more dramatic improvements as computers become increasingly self-...
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2answers
256 views

“If I knew what you want/wanted to eat tonight”

Context: I am talking to my friends, trying to find out what she wants to eat tonight. "What do you want to eat tonight?" "You know what I want to eat." "If I knew what you wanted to eat, I ...
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1answer
5k views

“I askED him if he knowS…” or “knew” - which one is correct?

I don't know why but when I say "I asked him if he knew..." type of sentences making both verbs past tense, it seems like I am saying it wrong... I already used the past tense verb in the first part ...
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2answers
10k views

How old were you?

Let's say I knew how old somebody is at the moment, but I forgot it. In that case, I think I can ask, "How old were you?", am I right?
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3answers
998 views

Changing the verb for indirect quote/reported speech expressing habitual actions

The below-mentioned question is asked in my exam, I think my answer is correct, please tell if I am right, I have to challenge the question in 2 days if its answer given is wrong. correct answer is ...
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2answers
73 views

Should I treat quotes from God as universal truth for narration?

This is totally for my assignment not a theist atheist thing. Actually the sentence I need to narrate is Lord Shiva once said, "I am responsible for everything." Now Shiva is actually a Hindu god ...
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1answer
329 views

“until something” in reported speech

How can I transform the following sentence into reported speech? Let's say my colleague said to me: I will practice until I reach my goal If I want to say it in reported speech, should it be ...
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2answers
2k views

Facts in reported speech – to backshift or not

Are these two sentences grammatically correct? Mona told me that London was the biggest city in England. He wanted to know where Manchester was. I found these two sentences by chance in an exercise ...
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1answer
36 views

Reported speech uncertainty

Can you help me with these? Which of them are correct or sound more natural? How far into the sentence does the reported speech go- I feel like if I transform everything it changes the meaning and ...
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1answer
11k views

'would have had to

I found this passage from my reading book so it couldn't be wrong :D But I don't get it! It used to be that if you wanted to watch a movie, you'd have to watch it from your television. I think my ...
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1answer
3k views

Is the sentence 'Tom said he hadn't got any money' reported speech from 'Tom said, “I haven't got any money”'?

I came across this pair of sentences in 'Cambridge English Preliminary for Schools Trainer' by Sue Elliott and Liz Gallivan CUP 2012: Tom said he hadn't got any money. Tom said, 'I haven't got any ...
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1answer
20 views

incorrect time in the sentence?

This sentence is from some game manual: For example, if a player started a battle with a “XYZ” Order and then attempts diplomacy with the card bonus, he must retreat if he draws a "HJK" Is that ...
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1answer
130 views

Sequence of tenses for facts irrelevant of the moment of speech

Let's consider two sentences: (1) I suggested that the word zeitgeist was of German origin. (2) The lecturer said the Pluto's orbital period is more than 200 years. In both cases, the facts are ...
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2answers
222 views

He said that his job IS/WAS boring

before few weeks my friend said: "my job is boring" I need to report his speech to third person, What should I say? and why? He said that his job is boring. He said that his job was boring.
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3answers
2k views

“I thought you WRITE or WROTE poetry” - which is correct?

Could you tell me if I want to inquire a person what he does and he answers that he writes fiction and I tell him "I thought you wrote poetry." Or "I thought you WRITE poetry.", the action is in the ...
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2answers
441 views

Tense agreement: “confirmed it is” v.s. “confirmed it was”

Google:"confirmed it is" Google:"confirmed it was" Both have >400k hits but from what I learned in school, the former is ungrammatical. Or is it not? IBM confirmed it is building more data centres ...
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1answer
56 views

Is a verb missing from “…the company had turned away from DJs and towards the audiophile market…”?

From the article Technics’ new “standard” SL-1200GR turntable expected to cost $2,000 on factmag.com: Earlier this week, Technics’ creative director Hiro Morishita told The New York Times why the ...
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2answers
244 views

confusion over which tense: Present Simple or?

A few weeks ago, I sent a message to a foreign friend when I heard a earthquake happened in her country. But the message didn't send successfully. Today she contacted me, I gave her a message like ...
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2answers
416 views

Confusion about “Backshift” of Verbs in Indirect Speech (To Kill a Mockingbird)

The following are some lines from To Kill a Mockingbird: I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it (had started?) started long before that. He said ...
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2answers
93 views

a question about tense backshifting

The mom had prepared some food for her son before he left. The mom had prepared some food for her son before he was going to leave. The mon had prepared some food for her son before leaving. Do ...
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1answer
42 views

the backshifting in one sentence

Wisconsin has dissected Zellner's court filing to determine evidence that was overlooked at the time Avery was convicted of killing Halbach. Zellner contends that the new battery of tests can be done ...
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1answer
114 views

mixing tenses in a sentence with “while” [duplicate]

The following is an excerpt from the Washington Post article, titled "When did the world turn against Justin Timberlake and embrace Britney Spears?": They had a bad break-up three years later. ...
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1answer
782 views

“He didn't say he liked coffee” or “He didn't say he likes coffee”?

According to this link, the verb tense in the subordinate clause can be either present or past tense when the main clause's verb is in past tense IF the fact stated in the subordinate clause still ...
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5k views

Why is this sentence wrong “He wasn't a stranger because I have met him before”?

"He wasn't a stranger because I have met him before." What's wrong with this sentences?
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69 views

Is past tense “existed” obligatory in “You could show that the amino acid now existed as a negative ion using electrophoresis.”

From Chemguide: Adding an alkali to an amino acid solution: If you increase the pH of a solution of an amino acid by adding hydroxide ions, the hydrogen ion is removed from the -NH3+ group. ...