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Questions tagged [backshifting]

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1answer
3k views

"I would leave tommorow" - is it grammatical?

Let's say that I utter the following: I will leave tomorrow. Would it be ungrammatical to say the following the next day: I would leave tomorrow. I know that the following are grammatical and ...
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5answers
8k views

past simple or present in this case: "It would be nice to see you before I leave (left)."

I am going on holidays in two days for two weeks, but before going I would like to see my friend: shall I say It would be nice to see you before I leave. It would be nice to see you before I left. I ...
8
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1answer
2k views

Direct and indirect speech

Have I changed the direct speech into indirect correctly? Direct: He said,"If I had a pen,I could write the answer." Indirect: He said if he had had a pen,he could have written the answer." ...
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1answer
707 views

I want to solve my problem with some one [closed]

What is the future in the past tense? Which kind of tense is this? A person asked me what is the difference between lexical tenses and the compound tenses and he said that future in the past is a ...
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1answer
257 views

Is using "were" or "are" better in the conversation

May I know which of the following two sentences is grammatical? From what I’ve described which aspects would you say were the “must haves”? From what I’ve described which aspects would you say are ...
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1answer
507 views

Reported speech without backshift

Please look at this example of reported speech: A friend told me he made an order 5 months ago. I think that even though this is reported speech, there's no backshift here because of 5 months ago. ...
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2answers
2k views

Difference between Simple Past and Past Perfect

What is the difference in meaning between the two examples below? When she returned home from office, she was shocked to see that her husband and daughter were missing. (Simple Past) When she ...
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3answers
105 views

Present tense during past for vividness

The first technique is prevention of distraction. I remember at the age of 15, I got my first computer. I was so fascinating for it, I spent so much time on my computer until my stomach growls, ...
3
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2answers
4k views

had selected vs. selected

An excerpt from Beginning Java Objects: From Concepts to Code by Jacquie Barker: Your client comes to inspect the work, and he is terribly disappointed. One of the reasons he had selected blue ...
5
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1answer
367 views

Should I use "would be" or "would have been" in the following case?

He apologized for the poor product range. I told him it was okay: that I cared more about quality than quantity. And that if they worked as expected, even one would be/have been enough to meet the ...
5
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2answers
252 views

Should I be using 'is' or 'was' in reported speech?

Which is correct? She was told that it was against the law to steal. Or She was told that it is against the law to steal. Background information: The original context is that I was ...
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6answers
709 views

Is backshift necessary in this case

I met him last summer, I asked him what he was doing over here and he said he'd come over to release a single and I thought... Was it obligatory to backshift, could he have written: "and he said ...
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2answers
247 views

Backshifting: past simple to past perfect

Whenever I happen to report a sentence that's originally in the present perfect, I switch tenses accordingly, transforming it into the past perfect. My problem though focuses on the backshifting ...
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2answers
181 views

How to say what other people have said?

This question might seem a bit stupid, but I was writing a letter and didn't know how to write it down. Here is the sentence: "On March 15th Mr. Johnson told me that he has talked to Mr. Kawai and ...
2
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1answer
139 views

Dilemma about tense in Second Conditional question

I came across the following question: "If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living?" Is "would die" the only correct option, or ...
4
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2answers
1k views

The Subjunctive in Past "as If" Sentences

I'd like to know how to use the subjunctive mood (if that's how it's called) when describing an unreal situation in the past. Should I use the Past Perfect, like in the past unreal conditional, or the ...
2
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1answer
182 views

Reported speech of "I have no idea where Jim is"

The original utterance was: "I have no idea where Jim is." If we rewrite this sentence above in reported speech form, which ones of the following could be correct: He said (that) he had ...
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3answers
2k views

Present tense and past tense

Is there a difference between these two? Which one is more common? I was wondering if I ( needed / need ) to take my own towel.
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4answers
2k views

"past simple tense + before + past perfect tense" pattern

I came across this sentence below and I reckon something is wrong with this sentence that I underlined the certain part. Because using "past simple tense + before + past perfect tense" pattern does ...
3
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1answer
74 views

"A law decreased what schools had been permitted" vs. "are permitted"

Can you please tell me which of the following sentences is correct? A law passed in 2006 decreased the amount of chlorine that schools had been permitted to add to drinking water. A law passed ...
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2answers
219 views

Conditional sentence type 1

I have passed the final exam at university. My father has already promised to pay me a holiday to London if I pass/passed. Should we use "pass" or "passed" here?
3
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2answers
2k views

How to use 'could' in following sentences?

I have two examples: ‘I haven't been able to find my keys for two years. (which means I don't have them now) ‘I hadn't been able to find my keys for two years. (which means I finally found ...
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3answers
2k views

Mixing tenses in reported speech sentences

When I use reported/indirect speech when dealing with some sentence that states a general fact or is still true, the present tense can be retained, right? As in: I told him that I work for HP. ...
3
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1answer
4k views

Conditionals in reported speech

I'm having a bit of trouble understanding how to properly use reported speech, if in a direct sentence there's a conditional structure. Case in point: If I were rich I would have already bought ...
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2answers
97 views

Backshifting with structure "make sure"

A similar problem has already been tackled at English Language & Usage, but it was not identical. If I wanted to assure my SO, who is worried that we would not get adjacent seats on a plane, ...
0
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3answers
7k views

seem/seemed + infinitive form

Could you tell me the difference in meaning of these questions please? When and in which situations can we use them? He seemed to have felt very tired. He seems to have felt very tired. When we say:...
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2answers
130 views

Why do these sentences, which have similar structures, use different tenses in their object clauses?

That was not the first time (that) someone has needed me. It was not the first time (that) someone had fired at Eric while he walked to school. It was not the first time (that) someone suggested ...
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2answers
1k views

Backshifting in reported speech - "I wanted to let you know that he HAS/HAD sent you the letter"

Grammar rules say that when converting a sentence from direct speech to indirect, the reported speech is converted to past tense if the first part of the sentence (reporting verb) is in the past tense....
2
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2answers
343 views

Present perfect or present simple

I want to order something on the internet. I realise that I have lost my password, I have asked for it but it has not reach me yet. I want to order something on the internet. I realise that I have ...
2
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2answers
762 views

When matrix clause is past tense and its subordinate clause uses 'will'

Examples where the matrix clause is in past tense and the subordinate clause uses the modal auxiliary verb will: It was very hard to leave and to think that you will never come back, and I ...
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3answers
3k views

"Could you tell me where she works?" vs "Could you tell me where she worked?"

I was wondering which is correct: "Could you tell me where she worked?" or, "Could you tell me where she works?" I am asking a question in the sense that I'd like to know where she is working ...
2
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1answer
2k views

Past tense of "Seems like everything I've been doing recently is to follow people around."

I tried this: Seemed like everything I'd been doing recently was to follow people around. Is that correct?
7
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3answers
158 views

past simple versus past perfect

Should I write: He wrote in his last email that he did not find the time to do it yet, but was going to do it pretty soon . In fact he has still not done it. He wrote in his last email that he had ...
3
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2answers
24k views

Verb tense "had left" versus "left"

"The police said he used to abuse the girl after everybody had left the school in the evenings." Today in the newspaper, I read this line. I am unable to understand the use of "had" in the above ...
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2answers
316 views

Why is it grammatically correct to use present tense in this sentence?

Sentence that needs to be corrected- "After discussing plans for seaside vacation, Victoria realized that she likes the ocean more than Doug did." Why does the sentence need the following ...
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1answer
1k views

Tense change in reported speech

Here are the sentences: Fred insisted that he would be driving his own car in the rally. I initially thought the direct speech would be this: Fred insisted, “I will drive my own car in the rally.” ...
1
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2answers
2k views

Would you say "She had nothing to do except spending money"?

From two sentences I've written below, the first one is positively correct as it's cited from Longman dictionary. The grammatical validity of the second one, however, seems rather dubious knowing the ...

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