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Thread: reported speech

  1. #1
    navi Guest

    Default reported speech

    A-Last Monday, when he was talking to me, he said: "I'll take what is left tomorrow."

    1-Last Monday, when he was talking to me, he said that he would take what was left the next day.
    2-Last Monday, when he was talking to me, he said that he would take what would be left the next day.

    Which of the sentences 1 or 2 is correct? (They are supposed to express the same idea as A, but in indirect form)

  2. #2
    Mister Micawber's Avatar
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    Default Re: reported speech

    .
    #1-- you need to regress only the main verb.

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  3. #3
    navi tasan is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: reported speech

    Thanks Mr. Micawber,

    If I regress only the main verb, I'll get:
    3-Last Monday, when he was talking to me, he said that he would take what IS left the next day.

    In 1, I had also regressed the other verb ("is" had become "was").

  4. #4
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    Default Re: reported speech

    .
    Oops! Sorry. I take back my first explanation. I was preoccupied with avoiding the two 'would's. Now that I re-read it, where did that second 'would' come from, anyway? The first is the regression from 'will' future, but the 2nd? Were you just influenced by proximity?
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  5. #5
    navi tasan is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: reported speech

    I just thought it would make things clearer.
    I backshifted:
    4-I will take whatever WILL BE left tomorrow.
    instead of backshifting the original sentence. I think 4 is acceptable, but I am not sure.

  6. #6
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: reported speech

    I'd use 'is left'.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: reported speech

    .
    Ah, I see, Navi. No reason to do that-- though it is indeed likely to make ENLs stop and think. We no doubt use it in speaking, on the subconscious 'will-would-would' parallel principle; but I can't see how you can rationalize changing from 'is left' to 'will be left' to 'would be left'- that is a sort of grammatical hopscotch, I think.

    I'll second tdol's choice, as a much better option.

    .

  8. #8
    Steven D's Avatar
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    Default Re: reported speech

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    I'd use 'is left'.

    That's a good choice if "is left" refers to "what remains at present". However, "left" could refer to the past action of "leaving".

    He said he would take what was left.

    We could make "was left" active.

    He said he would take what they left. - finished action

    He said he would take what they leave. - They haven't left anything yet. Or maybe they have? I think it's hard to say, and I'm not sure it would really matter. A speaker could still use "leave".

    What "is left" is what they left.

    However, "was left" is the passive form of "they left".

    I didn't include "the next day".

    Or is the next day when he's going to take what was/is left?

    Or does "the next day" refer to when "it is left"? He'll only take what they leave "the next day".
    Last edited by Steven D; 27-Jul-2005 at 21:38.

  9. #9
    navi tasan is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: reported speech

    Thanks everybody,

    So you'd say:
    Three days ago, he said he would take what they leave the next day (or:two days ago).
    and not:
    Three days ago, he said he would take what they left the next day (or two days ago).

    That is strange, because the action of leaving is over and done with.

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