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Questions tagged [backshifting]

This tag is for the changing of a present tense to a past tense following a past form of a reporting verb (backshifting)

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Would it be idiomatic to use past perfect in "I forgot I (had) promised"?

The following is from a movie on YouTube called "Daughter Kidnapped" (a link to that moment): Ally is Paige's Daughter. Ally's father has died recently. Diane is the owner of a farm in the ...
prof1589's user avatar
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1 vote
3 answers
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Correct tense: [is the fourth one] or [was the fourth one]

I have made up the sentences below. Suppose that I'm holding a watch in my hand, showing it to my friends and I said to them: 1a) This watch is the fourth one I got for my collection. 1b) This ...
ansonman's user avatar
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Inconsistent use of backshifting in a reported speech paragraph

Flow, he argued, was a state of mind, a level of concentration in which outside stimuli, even time itself, seem to fall away. But flow, he added, cannot be forced. nytimes The backshifting for ...
South Indian ɪŋɡlɪʃɪfaɪd's user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
2k views

"The job springboarded him into the profession at which he <would eventually excel> <eventually excelled>."— Why can we need the variant with "would"?

oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com: (1) The job springboarded him into the profession at which he would eventually excel. my subsidiary example: (1a) The job springboards him into the profession at which ...
Loviii's user avatar
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1 vote
3 answers
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they thought it is or was important for the US to elect a woman president

Most Democratic voters in the state, 72 per cent, said they thought it is(was) important for the US to elect a woman president in their lifetimes, and that included roughly two-thirds of men. What's ...
Jones's user avatar
  • 614
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2 answers
33 views

You said you’ll bring some from home, right?

You said you’ll bring some from home, right? You said you would bring some from home, right? What's the difference between the two sentences? The only difference is 'll vs would
gomadeng's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
865 views

"He works/worked hard so that he will be promoted."

my sentence: (1) He works hard so that he will be promoted. Am I right that (1) has two meanings?: (1a) He works hard in order that he will be promoted. (1b) He works hard with the result that he will ...
Loviii's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
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I left a note on the table two days ago so that he "would/will" eat the food I prepared for him - which is correct?

I left the note two days ago, and he is going to come back two days from now. So, the action is going of him eating my food is in the future. What tense should I use? Which example is correct? Example ...
vincentlin's user avatar
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31 views

sequence of tenses and will

I'd like to know if my understanding is correct. She said "I will leave for the U.S." This sentence can be rephrased in two ways, i.e. She said she would leave for the U.S. She said she ...
kuwabara's user avatar
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What is the difference between present simple and past simple in a past scenario?

In a group, we were discussing English grammar and academic writings. One of us wrote a sentence like this: She asked passers-by what they thought about New York city. A person claimed that this ...
Ghost's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
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Realized / noticed about a fact which is still true now + tense

(1) I realized / noticed that people will avoid when it come to talking about money. (2) I realized / noticed that people would avoid when it come to talking about money. Do I need to backshift "...
LE HANH's user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
855 views

Report of a truth

I know that when reporting a truth, we don't need to backshift: (1) John: The sun rises in the east. John said the sun rises in the east. I don't know if we have to backshift in the situations below:...
LE HANH's user avatar
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1 answer
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Backshifted Past Perfect

He claimed that he had been badly treated when he was shopping. Is it possible to say 2 or 3, ie to backshift the verb in the subordinate clause: He claimed that he had been badly treated when he ...
ForOU's user avatar
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1 answer
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Why is it ".....before any help would arrive" but not ".......before any help arrived."

This is from the BBC about a story in which a fisherman fell off the boat into sea and was finally saved. The sentence tells about his first thoughts when he fell off into the sea: I thought I would ...
Yunus's user avatar
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1 vote
3 answers
61 views

I asked if she knew French.(I asked if she knows French)

I asked if she knew French. vs. I asked if she knows French. If you are a native English speaker, which sentence would you say? Or is there any difference between them?
gomadeng's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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"He said that if it <rained / rains> <tomorrow / the next day>, he <would / will> not go to the beach."

All sentences are mine: (1) If it rains tomorrow, he will not go to the beach. If "tomorrow" remains after backshift, it means tomorrow has not yet come, so backshift is optional. That is: ...
Loviii's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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Jason: Mike told me he "was going to" join the football team. - does "was going to" imply Mike later didn't join?

Example 1 Jason: Mike told me he would join the football team. Example 2 Jason: Mike told me he was going to join the football team. "will" and "is going to" in a reported ...
vincentlin's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
77 views

How to say the sentence "Subject + should + (not) + verb" in the past tense?

Suppose that a student achieved poor academic grades and the officials of the university he attended told him if he fails any other course, they will expel him. At that time, he said these sentences ...
alireza's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
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Do you use the past tense in a subordinate clause in past subjunctive?

I wish I had a robot which helps me do my homework. I wish I had a robot which helped me do my homework. Which sentence makes more sense? Does the tense in the subordinate clause need to agree with ...
kuwabara's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
59 views

Reported speech for questions - optional back-shifting - past tense

REPORTED SPEECH for questions Could the back-shifting to the past be optional for these sentences? PS: I am wondering especially about sentence (3) (past). (1) "Which dress do you like best?"...
Meriem AISSAOUI's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
35 views

Rules of backshift: will there be backshift or not here?

I would like to explain the situation where I didn't notice my brother when he came home, and therefore didn't know when he got home. I thought I should say like this: I didn't know when my brother ...
Nigutumok's user avatar
  • 556
0 votes
1 answer
66 views

No back-shifting for reported speeches that remain true at the moment of reporting (past tense)

Is It informal not to back-shift? or is it acceptable in formal situations as well? Sherri and Dan: “We enjoyed the concert.” Sherri and Dan told us they enjoyed the concert.
Meriem AISSAOUI's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
50 views

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 ...
Pixelcode's user avatar
  • 113
4 votes
1 answer
136 views

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 ...
Petro Probka's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
29 views

"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 ...
Elona's user avatar
  • 13
0 votes
1 answer
78 views

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 ...
Alon's user avatar
  • 168
0 votes
2 answers
127 views

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?
Zaw Wunna Ko Ko's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
49 views

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 ...
Lutfur Rahman's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
115 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 ...
Carol's user avatar
  • 53
0 votes
1 answer
78 views

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 ...
res's user avatar
  • 1
1 vote
1 answer
906 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 ...
Mr. X's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
132 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 ...
Sergei's user avatar
  • 2,348
0 votes
1 answer
150 views

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 ...
asr09's user avatar
  • 163
0 votes
0 answers
30 views

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, ...
Chelsea Iasello's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
39 views

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 ...
Student's user avatar
  • 307
0 votes
1 answer
41 views

"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)?
Laith Leo's user avatar
  • 595
0 votes
2 answers
51 views

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 ...
opeoxio's user avatar
  • 11
1 vote
2 answers
105 views

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 ...
Micky Cat's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
34 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 ...
Ashraf's user avatar
  • 545
0 votes
1 answer
496 views

"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?
Ayaka's user avatar
  • 1
0 votes
1 answer
208 views

"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 ...
dos4dev's user avatar
  • 115
0 votes
1 answer
99 views

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 ...
GorgMish's user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
45 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 ...
Kris 1334's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
22k 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 ...
shapoor's user avatar
  • 719
1 vote
1 answer
73 views

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 ...
Lucy's user avatar
  • 101
1 vote
0 answers
28 views

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 ...
Bruce Murray's user avatar
  • 1,108
0 votes
0 answers
87 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.
Hossam Medo's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
1k 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 ...
zwlayer's user avatar
  • 125
0 votes
1 answer
58 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 ...
zwlayer's user avatar
  • 125
3 votes
1 answer
311 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 ...
Jason O'Neil's user avatar