View Poll Results: She said her name...

Voters
20. This poll is closed
  • ...was Jill.

    11 55.00%
  • .... is Jill.

    9 45.00%
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Thread: Indirect Speech

  1. #1
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Indirect Speech

    Which sounds more natural? Is there a difference?

  2. #2
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    I voted for the first one, since it seemed to be more natural. On second thought I realized that would actually say the second one.

    :?

  3. #3
    Will Guest

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    Perhaps it's just me, but seeing as how Jill said (i.e, past tense), then was is the obvious choice.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will
    Perhaps it's just me, but seeing as how Jill said (i.e, past tense), then was is the obvious choice.
    Surely, what she said was, "My name is Jill." She isn't likely to have said, "My name was Jill."

    :)

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    It depends, IMO. I'd use the present happily if I were sure of her name and the past if less so.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    Surely, what she said was, "My name is Jill." She isn't likely to have said, "My name was Jill."
    Indeed, what Jill said was "My name is Jill". This is called Quoted Speech.

    Another way to tell what someone said is Reported Speech. In this case, "she said her name was Jill". If the statement is put into Reported Speech it's necessary to put the reporting verb, "to say", and the verb in the reported statement, "to be", into the past tense.

    Iain

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    Not always- if the statement is a fact or holds true for the future, we often don't backshift:

    He said Paris is\was the capital of France.

    IMO, it makes more sense to say 'is' as this still is the case.

  8. #8
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    Default

    What tdol said.

    :wink:

  9. #9
    Will Guest

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    I'm going to have to go with dduck here.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will
    I'm going to have to go with dduck here.
    What I wrote is the general scheme of RS. Tdol's comment about the exception to this rule when the 'fact' is still true is also important.

    So we could say "She said her name is Jill".

    However, I'm wondering if, in this case, it's isn't more natural and commonplace to say "She said her name was Jill". For me, if Jill was in the room I might use 'is Jill', however, if Jill was absent, I'd probably use 'was Jill'. The act of her saying her name being FIRMLY in the past.

    Iain

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