46 votes
Accepted

Why does Obi-Wan use 'were' in "He wanted you to have it when you were old enough"?

Let's clear up some grammar points first. Time clauses about the future never include "will", and almost always use a present tense: When I am older, I'll be a doctor. After I win, I'm ...
gotube's user avatar
  • 49.3k
19 votes
Accepted

Convert to indirect speech: ‘Rajeev said, “But, dad, didn't you promise me a new laptop?”’

In the direct speech But, dad, didn't you promise me a new laptop? the verb didn't you is inverted. This is normal when one is asking a question: "Didn't you...?" "Have you...?" ...
Andrew Leach's user avatar
  • 2,258
15 votes

Why is "here" changed into "there" when converting this sentence into direct speech?

The words "here" and "there" reflect the perspective of the speaker. For the example with reported speech, Jack told me that he would be here at seven. In this example, the ...
Jack O'Flaherty's user avatar
15 votes

Convert to indirect speech: ‘Rajeev said, “But, dad, didn't you promise me a new laptop?”’

Your answer is not correct, nor is the answer provided in the textbook. You cannot remind somebody if or whether. You remind them that or of something. You can ask them if/whether So while there are ...
Ronald Sole's user avatar
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13 votes

What tense of the word sing completes the sentence below appropriately?

This is complicated because it depends how you interpret heard. In the examples below, each line shows what the original speaker said -> how it was reported. It could be hear meaning listen to ...
JavaLatte's user avatar
  • 59.4k
11 votes

Does "is" turn into "was" or "were" in indirect speech?

It is not the change to indirect speech which dictates the change in verb form; rather it is the use of the verb could to describe the possibility of an outcome contrary to what occurred, and the ...
P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

"In whose symbolic shadow we stand today"

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. "In whose symbolic shadow we stand today" is a subordinate clause and ...
rjpond's user avatar
  • 23k
9 votes

Using "scold" in reported speech

You can certainly use past tense X scolded Y to report what X did to Y. But scold doesn't work the same as, for example, tell, inform, convince, all of which can be followed by a subordinate clause ...
FumbleFingers's user avatar
8 votes

The teacher told us that ice {floats/floated} on water

Many native speakers, when reporting indirectly what someone has said, will cast the verb in the past without really thinking about it, as second-nature: She told us ice floated on water. That is ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 122k
7 votes

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

In reported speech, the tense of the verbs in the reported speech is normally backshifted. I am ready He said he was ready There are, however, exceptions. If the original statement is a general ...
JavaLatte's user avatar
  • 59.4k
7 votes
Accepted

Indirect speech - past tense

You're talking about backshifting, which is common in indirect speech, but not required. For events that happened in the past and are complete, it makes more sense to backshift. My sister said ...
Andrew's user avatar
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6 votes
Accepted

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

Your concern seems to be this: "Why doesn't the author backshift the verbs in reports of Jem's simple past statements to the past perfect?" I think the best answer is simply that we don't always do ...
Michael Foland's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Imperative in reported speech

Mom said, "Don't trust strangers". When you change an imperative sentence from direct to indirect (reported) speech, you don't change the tense in the reported speech; you keep the present tense. ...
Khan's user avatar
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6 votes

Should "the belief that the world was round" be "the belief that the world is round" in this sentence?

With a timeless property like that, your version (with is) is possible; but it is not usual. The habit in English of converting the tense of reported speech in the past ("He believed 'It is round'" =...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 74.7k
6 votes

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

I agree that options 2 and 3 are correct if they still pray every day and that only option 3 is correct if they no longer pray every day. But the question as given is select the one which best ...
Jason Bassford's user avatar
6 votes

Difference Had been Twins and Were Twins

a) I asked if he and my father had been twins. = I asked, "Were he and my father twins?" b) I asked if he and my father were twins. = I asked, "Are he and my father twins?" Therefore, If he ...
Omega Krypton's user avatar
5 votes

Is it gramatically correct to say 'She said that she hadn't got any money?

It's more British English than American: "As though she hadn't got enough V. P. of her own! " BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley http://www.huxley.net/bnw/thirteen.html Theoretically, 'haven't got' ...
Cathy Gartaganis's user avatar
5 votes

Is it gramatically correct to say 'She said that she hadn't got any money?

A good rule of thumb is to remember that have got can be used to mean have1. 1(Though it's very likely that haven't got any money in the example should mean "doesn't have any money", the alternate ...
Damkerng T.'s user avatar
  • 27.2k
5 votes
Accepted

Reported Speech

Use "I'll tell my friends that I have started learning computers." (In other words, no need to change the tense because the reporting verb is for the future time.) Reported speech is also known as ...
Damkerng T.'s user avatar
  • 27.2k
5 votes
Accepted

Question related to past tense of the verb

She said she would help me when she finished her work. Compare: I will help you when I finish my work. That is what she really said.It is called "direct speech". The sentence you are interested ...
V.V.'s user avatar
  • 7,085
5 votes
Accepted

How to convert advice to reported speech?

Let's suppose Alice said "You should only connect to people you know well", and Bob has to decide how to tell other people about this later. Bob needs to choose between saying... 1: Alice said that ...
FumbleFingers's user avatar
5 votes

What tense of the word sing completes the sentence below appropriately?

The correct choice is sing or singing. She said that she heard Esther sing. Or: She said that she heard Esther singing. So at some point in the past, Esther was singing, and "she" heard ...
Margaret's user avatar
  • 788
5 votes

Why does Obi-Wan use 'were' in "He wanted you to have it when you were old enough"?

I agree with the answer by gotube about "He wanted you to have it when you were old enough." - this is perfectly understandable to me. However, there is context to this particular line that ...
roganjosh's user avatar
  • 271
4 votes
Accepted

"Not" disappearing when converting a sentence to indirect speech

A question in the form Are they not... Is it not... Is he not... Is she not... Are you not... can actually be a kind of exclamation that means "They are certainly...It is certainly...You are ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 122k
4 votes

Which tense should I use when describing the following facts?

We usually make changes to the original verbs in indirect speech when time has passed between the moment of speaking and the time of the report: In the 5th century people believed that the Earth ...
Victor B.'s user avatar
  • 9,515
4 votes
Accepted

how to properly distinguish between two indirect sentences?

Move the time adverbial up to the front to make it modify "mentioned", and don't use "the previous day", use "yesterday" since that is the word that means "the day before today". Yesterday he ...
James K's user avatar
  • 213k
4 votes

Past simple for a reported speech still true

No, it's ambiguous. It's what she did say, and what she meant at the time. Whether or not she still has a problem with the modern world is unknown. But if she does still have a problem with it, then ...
Jason Bassford's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Reported speech: When to not change "was" to "had been"?

Actually, I can definitely understand why this seems complicated, but I think it's actually not as bad as it seems at first. With reported speech, we have two verbs, and they're both combined ...
Foogod's user avatar
  • 5,809
4 votes
Accepted

Why is 'I asked who was the winner' correct?

This issue arises because we have a nominal clause (sometimes called content clause, noun clause, etc.) that is introduced by an interrogative pronoun and includes a predicate nominative (PN). (Please ...
MarcInManhattan's user avatar

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