Questions tagged [backshifting]

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Backshift in time to distance yourself from indirect speech if introductory sentence in present?

For indirect speech with introductory sentences in simple past, there's a backshift in time: Peter: “The sky is blue.” Peter said the sky was blue. Now, I want to quote a general idea/thought using ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Question about backshifting in reported speech

What option is right? He said he had been there when I was there. He said he had been there when I had been there. Should the when-clause be in the past perfect if the main one is in the past ...
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"I mentioned that our office will be based here" vs "I mentioned that our office would be based here"

"I mentioned that our office will be based here" vs "I mentioned that our office would be based here" The questions is for something that has not been changed, and is just being ...
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1 answer
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Would have thought

I’m having a disagreement with a friend about the use of would have. She thinks that backshifting isn’t necessary, whereas I think it is. For example, “I would have thought he made exceptions in ...
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2 answers
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I'm really confused about using 'SAYS' and 'SAID'

Renzo said that he'll show up the big event. He says that he can cook with casts on his arms. What's the difference between these two sentences?
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-1 votes
1 answer
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Mxing Present and Past Tense to describe a location [closed]

Please check the below sentence where I want to talk about a conversation with my friend about a place or building, to a third person. Should I mix present and past tense in this case as Eiffel Tower ...
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2 answers
104 views

She called me before dinner and said she _____ arrive home until eleven, so we don't need to wait for her---"wouldn't" or "won't"

Iris: What's wrong with you, honey? Theo: Look at the clock. It is almost 10 p.m., but Anna hasn't got home yet. Iris: She called me before dinner and said she _______arrive home until eleven, so we ...
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1 answer
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Reported speech confusion

Direct speech “I worked in a bank for 3 years,” said Michael. Reported speech Michael said that he had worked in a bank for three years. Is had worked necessary there, or would just worked have ...
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1 answer
188 views

If it doesn't rain, I will come

At 1 PM: Friend: John, will you come to the party with us? (the party is at night) John: If it doesn't rain, I will come. (looking at the weather forecast for the day, which predicts rain at night) At ...
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0 answers
80 views

I have never thought you are ideal. / I never thought you were ideal

Is it correct explanation of an each sentence (in the brackets)? I have never thought you are ideal. (it's about the present situation that started in the past) I never thought you were ideal. (it's ...
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Jacob said to Jane, "I was absolutely furious." What will be the answer in indirect speech?

Jacob said to Jane, “I was absolutely furious.” What will be the answer in indirect speech? Rule says ‘was’ (simple past) will be converted to past perfect. According to this rule the answer will be ...
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Backshifting in Verb Tenses

Backshifting of tenses: We have discussed the deictic shifting of adverbial and PrepP time expressions in S,E,R terms. Can the same now be applied to the backshifting of verb tenses, too? Evidently, ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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I saw we would/will need it

If I am trying to explain I saw a future need, which of the following sentences are correct? I provided my interpretation of each sentence as well. I saw we would need more products for March. -- I ...
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1 answer
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"I made sure we choose/chose items that doesn’t use the most plastic."

In the following sentence: Yesterday, when I was shopping with my mum, I made sure we choose items that doesn’t use the most plastic. Which is correct: to say I made sure we (choose) or (chose)?
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2 answers
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What does "HAD" imply here? (I didn't realize you HAD + noun)

When you say "I didn't realize you had the apple", does it mean the person who is spoken to still has "the apple"? Or because it's "HAD", does it imply the person doesn't ...
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1 vote
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If he had been the boy, he would have said, "That is OK, I will do it."

If you change the first sentence into an indirect speech, which would be the correct sentence? 1 If he had been the boy, he would have said, "That is OK, I will do it." 2 If he had been the ...
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0 votes
1 answer
28 views

My favorite place was/is Gardens by the bay. (back shifting)

I was asked to talk about a beautiful place I visited. I said: I went to Singapore last January..... (this is where I got and get confused all the time) It was a very beautiful place. - I back ...
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1 answer
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"I think/thought he is/was kind."

I think he is kind. I think he was kind. I thought he is kind. I thought he was kind. Which do you usually use or not?
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"The student said that birds can fly"

The script, which checks grammar, explains next. It appears that the verb can in the dependent clause uses the wrong tense. Should I rewrite the sentence in this way? The student said that birds ...
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1 answer
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Using present tense when quoting from the past idea or utterance

I know that we use past tense when we want to mention an utterance or idea which was in someone's mind. For example: They thought it was rude to speak through the telephone. Since in my native ...
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0 votes
3 answers
38 views

What would be the proper way to address this situation?

The fact is that the price for that item is still $7.99. I saw the price in the past and the price didn't change. A. I saw that the price for that item was $7.99. B. I saw that the price for that ...
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0 votes
3 answers
14k views

past tense of "should"

I found the following in a grammar textbook under a unit about “should” as a modal verb: “I suggested that she should buy a car.” But it is stated there that the past tense of “should” is “should ...
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Reported speech change

"I was walking down the street this morning when I saw the accident" If this is changed into indirect speech "He told Sam he had been walking down…" does the part “when I saw the ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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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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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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1 vote
1 answer
476 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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1 answer
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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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1 vote
1 answer
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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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0 votes
0 answers
41 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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1 vote
1 answer
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Is the tense correct in "I thought that more time than that had passed."?

Is it 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 had approximated the amount of time that ...
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0 answers
19 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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1 vote
1 answer
307 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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1 vote
1 answer
67 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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1 vote
2 answers
3k 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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0 votes
1 answer
125 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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2 votes
1 answer
46 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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1 vote
1 answer
52 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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1 vote
1 answer
34 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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0 votes
1 answer
992 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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0 votes
2 answers
52 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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0 votes
1 answer
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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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1 vote
1 answer
19 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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3 votes
1 answer
3k 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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0 votes
1 answer
74 views

Should I use 'Told' instead of 'Said' in the following Indirect Narration Speech?

My classmate said to me,"Good morning,You have finished your homework". My classmate wished me good morning and told me/said that I had finished my homework. which is appropriate to be used?
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1 vote
1 answer
449 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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3 votes
1 answer
178 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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1 vote
2 answers
54 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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2 votes
1 answer
77 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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2 votes
2 answers
484 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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1 vote
1 answer
9k 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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